Bus Service Update – 5TH DECEMBER 2016
We had a interesting but rather disappointing meeting with ECC Councillors and officers on 21st November. Although they seem to appreciate the impact of cutting subsidies for school buses on the ticket prices for ‘non-entitled’ / self funded students and post 16 college/ 6th form students – they argue that cuts are necessary. They also state that current legislation means that they are unable to tackle poor service on the public bus services used for schools or ticket price inflation.
We will be speaking to bus operators in Uttlesford to get a better understanding of ticket price structure for the next academic year (we expect further price increases I’m afraid) and will be contacting the Traffic Commissioner to get a better understanding of how to address complaints of poor service. We will also be reviewing the progress of the Bus Services Bill to get a better understand how this new legislation may impact transport in our area.
We continue to have serious concerns about affordability of school transport, and the lack of safeguards for families that are struggling with price increases. We will continue to focus on this matter locally; in the meantime, if you know anyone who is struggling financially please ask them to get in touch with us confidentiality – we can help with household budgets, ways to save, check benefit entitlements, help manage debts etc.
PRESS RELEASE 15/9/16
School Transport Problems
Uttlesford Citizens Advice Facebook account has been busy this week with problems parents and young people have been sharing about school buses. Issues seem to be numerous and wide-spread.
· Bus services used by children having insufficient capacity for all those who need them, regularly leaving children stranded at both the start and end of the day.
· Services used by children not entitled to free school transport being withdrawn without notice or consultation.
· Children being directed to use services that do not get them into school on time.
· Children being directed to services that leave up to an hour after school ends.
· Primary and secondary children whose catchment school is not their nearest school being left without funded transport.
· Buses being late and unreliable
· A lack of a child rate for single journeys being is being offered on some public services
· Demand Responsive Transport, which is meant to replace some bus services, does not have enough capacity at peak times, such as the start and end of the school day.
· Examples of prohibitive ticket price increases.
Uttlesford Citizens Advice will be sharing all the feedback and comments on problems raised to them to Cllr Ray Gooding from Essex County Council – however they urge all parents to contact Essex County Council directly on 0345 603 2200 to report the problems they are having.
A spokesperson for Citizens Advice said ‘It’s really important that parents who are selecting schools are careful to check the travel funding situation because your choice may have a significant impact on your ability to get support for travel costs’.
Follow Uttlesford Citizens Advice on twitter @UttlesfordCAB or at www.facebook.com/UttlesfordCAB/.