School bus pass in Kent due to rise in cost again

The cost of a bus travel pass used by thousands of children in Kent to get to school is expected to increase again this year.

Kent County Council, which runs the Kent Travel Saver, has yet to identify how much more it will rise by, but says inflation has increased the cost of contracts with bus companies.

Arriva bus in Sheerness High Street (26649434)
Arriva bus in Sheerness High Street (26649434)

The increased costs will, according to draft budget papers be "recovered through uplifting the charge for the pass", which was formerly known as the Young Person's Travel Pass.

Last year, the county council increased the cost of the pass by £60 to £350 - saving it £800,000 a year in subsidy.

With inflation at 1.5%, an increase in line with the rate would mean a relatively modest £5.25 extra.

The scheme offers discounted travel for 11-to-16-year-olds and costs KCC about £8m a year.

It remains popular despite yearly increases in the costs and means children pay around half the fare they ordinarily would.

The council has faced criticism about the price hike from some parents in recent years and has now introduced a scheme allowing payments by instalments over eight months.

While most children use the pass for school journeys, it can also be used for free travel on Arriva and Stagecoach's bus network throughout the day at weekends and during school holidays.

KCC has maintained the pass, which is a discretionary scheme, continues to represent value for money, saving as much as 50% on the costs of tickets.

It is available to those families who live in Kent and are council taxpayers and where children are at a secondary school in the county.

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