News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Parents in Flintshire could be forced to pay £150 extra per year for concessionary school travel

The cost of travelling to school for children who are not entitled to free bus travel could be set to go up by £150 in Flintshire.

Flintshire Council automatically provides transport for pupils who are granted free travel under its current policy.

Any spare seats on those buses can then be sold at a concessionary rate to parents of children who do not qualify.

At the moment a pass costs £300 per school year, but there are now proposals to increase the fee to £450 from September 2019.

The cost of a concessionary pass for this school year was almost double the £165 charged previously.

In a report, Cllr Carolyn Thomas, cabinet member for streetscene and countryside said a further rise was necessary for the authority to recover the cost of bus services.

She said: “The rate is still less than 50 per cent of the full cost of providing concessionary seats and this creates financial pressures for the authority at a time of austerity and when difficult decisions are being made on wider budget issues.

“The council’s high level aim is to maximise revenue generation with full cost recovery wherever possible.

“The impact of the increase in the cost of the concessionary seats has not had a detrimental impact on the numbers requesting the service however, the number of pupils purchasing concessionary seats are historically low in number.

“The greatest impact will be on those moving to the school buses from the publicly supported bus serves, when the routes end.

“Option two of £450 per year provides a balanced position against full cost recovery and the affordability of the scheme for parents, particularly those with a number of children travelling to school on these services and is therefore recommended for 2019/20.”

Members of Flintshire Council’s environment scrutiny committee will be asked to back the proposed increase at a meeting next Tuesday.

The cost of concessionary travel in the county is higher than in other areas of north Wales with a charge of £150 per year in Wrexham and Denbighshire and £210 in Conwy.

However, it is less than the £880 paid by parents to Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Before the change is introduced, a consultation will be carried out and all headteachers will be briefed.

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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