Wiltshire

Wiltshire pupils bus fare plans delayed

Plans to make hundreds of children pay extra for their school bus fares are to be reviewed.

About 400 pupils who attend faith schools in Wiltshire currently get subsidised travel if they live more than three miles away.

But Wiltshire Council wants to cut the travel subsidies, which cost £166,000 a year.

A decision is now set to be deferred until September after 500 parents signed a petition against the proposal.

The move would have led to some parents facing an extra £400 on the annual cost of the bus fares.

Emma Kane, governor of St. Patrick's Catholic Primary School in Corsham, said they were very concerned "families won't be able to afford it".

"I think it's very disruptive for the council to just turn around and say you've got one year to find alternative schools," she said.

"That's what they've said to us basically - you either pay and deal with all the transport yourself or you move."

'Avoid any risk'

Richard Gamble, the portfolio holder for public transport at Wiltshire Council, said they were looking into alternatives.

"The option we're now recommending is that, that subsidy should continue for children in their final year of GCSEs from 2012," he said.

"To avoid any risk at all of those children in a very critical year having to change their schooling arrangement."

A council meeting on Tuesday is now expected to defer the decision until September.

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