School pass increase to hit parents in the pocket again
Parents are likely be hit in the pocket again as the cost of Kent County Council’s popular school travel pass is set to rise once more.
The young person’s travel pass, for children aged 11-16, currently costs £280 a year. But that will go up as a result of bus companies increasing their fares.
The possibility of a hike in the cost of the pass was included in the council’s draft budget papers, which were released last week.
However, it was not immediately obvious with the increase described as a “travel pass realignment to offset bus operator inflationary pay increases”.
In a statement, the council said: “Following a series of meetings, we are in negotiations with the bus operators to negotiate a cost increase below the current rate of inflation.
“Once this figure is agreed it will enable adjustment in the final budget.”
KCC currently subsidises each pass to the tune of between £300 and £330 per pass.
The pass allows for one journey to and from school during term time. However, the Stagecoach bus company restored some former perks of the pass last September when it allowed it be used on services year-round, including weekends.
A KCC spokesman added: “The draft budget does not propose any change to the amount by which KCC subsidises the pass.
“We remain committed to the scheme and believe it still to be excellent value for money over buying tickets directly from the bus companies.”
KCC is expected to know if there will have to be any increase in April.
Meanwhile, the cost of a separate post-16 travel card is also set to rise by £50 to £450. That will also be consulted upon.
KCC are in negotiations with Stagecoach to keep an increase below the rate of inflation