Kent Council Council reviewing Young Person's Travel Pass payments system
Kent County Council is under fire after it emerged that plans to allow parents to pay for school travel passes by direct debit were in limbo.
Opposition Liberal Democrats say KCC is going back on a pledge to allow payments for the Young Person's Travel Pass to be made monthly to ease the financial burden.
The cost of the pass has risen to £290, although there are discounts.
Currently the council only allows payments to be made into installments or upfront in one go.
The county council has been exploring options for a monthly payment but says it is facing problems with the introduction of a direct debit system.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Dan Daley has called for clarification over when the scheme to allow parents to pay the £290 cost in monthly instalments would be introduced.
"The ongoing delays to the direct debit system for Young Persons Travel Pass payments are simply not good enough," he said.
"For many families £290 is a lot to pay in one lump sum, and splitting it in half £145 is not much help, especially if they have two school-age children to pay for.
"If the council can do it with other payments, it stands to reason they can do it here.
"We will keep up the pressure on the council until monthly payments become a reality.”
Cllr Mike Whiting, KCC cabinet member for transport, said: “The potential to introduce direct debit monthly instalments for both the Young Person’s Travel card and the 16+ Travelcard is being reviewed.
"We have to look at how such a system could work, the costs involved in setting it up, timescales and risks to parents, students and to KCC.
"Current work indicates that moving to a monthly direct debit system could incur significant additional administration costs.
"Work is continuing with a view to conclude by the end of the year."