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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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Fury over Barrow bus pass cuts

THOUSANDS of people have expressed their anger after a discount bus ticket scheme was scrapped.

MORE than 2,700 people have joined a protest page on Facebook after Stagecoach axed its monthly pass for children.

Parents have expressed their disgust at Stagecoach’s decision to scrap its cut-price monthly child fares in Barrow.

Cash-strapped parents now face the prospect of forking out up to £10 a month extra per child.

John Logan, of Hare Lane, sends his nine-year-old son Jack to school and back every day on a Stagecoach bus, and said the increases would hurt families.

“I’m quite lucky because I’ve only got the one kid who catches a bus to school, but if you’ve got a couple that use the bus, then it’s a huge expense,” he said.

“All my children have hearing disabilities and have regular hospital appointments and they also catch a bus up to Furness General and back.

“Public transport is supposed to be a cheap means of transport, yet they’re always cutting services and their prices go up.

“The way they’re carrying on, I think taxis are going to end up being cheaper than the bus services.”

Chris Kirkby, of Kent Street, only learned the megarider tickets had been scrapped when he went to renew his 14-year-old daughter Sarah’s monthly pass on Saturday.

Mr Kirkby said he was told the £20 child monthly pass had been cut and he would need to purchase a £30 adult fare for his daughter instead.

“It’s ridiculous,” he said. “There was no notice, nothing. It’s a lot of money people will have to find.”

Stagecoach, which also came under fire earlier this month after announcing plans to axe some services in Barrow and Millom, said the latest cutback had to be made in order to off-set a £1.6m rise in operating expenses.

The company also claimed its hand was forced after Cumbria County Council slashed subsidies on concessionary travel.

“We have been forced to withdraw the child megarider ticket in Barrow due to significant costs rises, major increases in government fuel tax on buses and decisions by Cumbria County Council to cut funding for concessionary travel and reduce young people’s eligibility for free travel to their place of education,” a spokeswoman said.

“The combined impact of these cuts and cost increase on our bus operation in Cumbria has been around £1.6m.

“We continue to offer discounted travel for children on our single tickets and Stagecoach fares in Barrow remain the cheapest in Cumbria.

“Our standard megarider multi-journey tickets still offer huge savings for all bus passengers and these are available for less than £10 a week.

“Independent research shows Stagecoach offers the best value fares of any major bus operator in the UK and the last full fares review in Barrow was in 2010.”

Disgruntled parents set up the Facebook page “Say NO! to Stagecoach school bus rip-off!!!” on Saturday. By Sunday night the page had already attracted 2,721 members.

Have your say

I used to walk from Ulverston to Barrow bare footed to school because my family couldn't afford shoes and be grateful for the education I received.
Kids these days don't know they're born - all we got at Christmas was a lump of coal, an apple and orange and a six penny bit. Let them walk! Kids these days never get any exercise.

Posted by Old fashioned Mike on 21 April 2012 at 16:55

I get one of these busses at the end of the school day. Given some of the adult language the kids use, the adult things they talk about and also the adult things they show each other on their mobiles I think it is an excellent idea to make them 'adult' fares.

Posted by Annoyed of Walney on 21 April 2012 at 16:49

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