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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Megapressure on Barrow buses

PRESSURE is mounting on Stagecoach to reinstate its child megarider fare after outraged parents launched a petition in protest.

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ANGRY: John Logan and his nine-year-old son Jack at the bus stop near their Hare Lane home in Barrow. They are angry at the removal of travel concessions for young people MILTON HAWORTH REF: 50032361B002

The Evening Mail yesterday revealed Stagecoach has blamed increased operating costs and funding cuts for the decision to scrap its popular children’s megarider pass.

The decision means parents face a 52 per cent increase in the cost of sending their children to school, with monthly passes rising from £20 to £30.40.

More than 3,300 people, including angry parent John Logan, of Hare Lane, who sends his nine-year-old son Jack to school every day on the bus, have signed up to a Facebook page set up over the weekend. Parents also hope an online petition at www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/buspassfurness will attract 5,500 signatures.

Cumbria County Council refuted Stagecoach’s claims that council cuts had contributed to the decision to axe the tickets.

Stagecoach also blamed the council’s decision to “cut funding for concessionary travel” and “reduce young people’s eligibility for free travel”.

The claims relate to changes to discretionary transport support implemented in September last year in which flat £350 annual fees replaced travel assistance for 16 to 19-year-olds and free travel for children to denominational schools.

However, a council spokesman said it was absurd for Stagecoach to blame the council.

“Stagecoach’s decision to withdraw the childrens’ megarider ticket in Barrow is a commercial one and one which the county council has no control over or not input into,” he said.

“Likewise, it was a commercial decision for the company to originally introduce the ticket and Barrow was the only place in the county to offer a children’s megarider.

“The county council has not cut its budget for funding concessionary travel. Instead, we are spending in line with the amount of money central government funds us to provide concessionary travel.

“There has been no change in the council’s annual charge for those families who choose to pay for the council’s home-to-school transport service and this is still an option that parents who are unhappy with the disappearance of the megarider may wish to switch over to.”

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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