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Quadring mum hits out at sharp fares rise for school buses




Zina Merry, of Quadring, has criticised a decision to double the fares for students going to and from Thomas Cowley High School, Donington, this year without any notice. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG080917-152TW.
Zina Merry, of Quadring, has criticised a decision to double the fares for students going to and from Thomas Cowley High School, Donington, this year without any notice. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG080917-152TW.

A Quadring mother has hit out at a decision to double the cost for students travelling by bus to their nearest secondary school.

Zina Merry was stunned when her daughter came home from her first day back at Thomas Cowley High School, Donington, after the summer holidays with the news that bus fares would go up from £1 to £2 each way, per day.

My daughter didn’t have to pay for the bus on her first day back at school but there would be a 100 per cent increase from the very next day
Zina Merry, of Quadring

The fares rise by Cropley Coaches, of Fosdyke, came into effect last Wednesday after it emerged that parents were given no warning at the end of the 2016-17 school year.

Zina said: “My daughter came home with a slip of paper that said the charge would be £2 each way on the bus to school, when it was £1 each way last year.

“She didn’t have to pay on her first day back at school but there would be a 100 per cent increase from the very next day.

“I thought to myself ‘how can you justify it?’ so I rang the bus operator on Wednesday and was told that it was able to raise the fares after winning a brand new contract.”

Zina has since made a complaint to Lincolnshire County Council who she said told her that any school transport service “has to be safe, reliable and affordable”.

Ian Dawson, head teacher at Thomas Cowley High School, said: “We have been made aware of the changes to the fares charged and sympathise with the parents, especially those who have more than one child at the school.

“We are in contact with Lincolnshire County Council and hope that the issues raised can be resolved satisfactorily.”

The Lincolnshire Free Press approached Cropley Coaches for a comment but no one was available at the time of going to press.

Anita Ruffle, Group Manager for Transport Services at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “This bus service was retendered in the summer as the old contract had come to an end.

“Cropley Coaches was chosen as the lowest bidder for an emergency, short-term contract after the initial round of tendering received no bids.

“Supported by a subsidy from the county council, Cropley Coaches has set the fares as low as they consider they can to cover the cost of providing the service.

“This short-term contract runs until Christmas when a new long-term solution will be pursued.”

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