Shropshire student bus pass cost may rise

The cost of student bus passes would increase under Shropshire Council plans aimed at saving £275,000 a year.

The authority would reduce subsidies under proposals affecting college and sixth form students and under 16s not entitled to free transport.

The proposals are to be discussed at a meeting on Tuesday. Consultation would take place before decisions were taken.

Savings of more than £450,000 have already been achieved in the schools' transport budget in 2010-11.

Parental choice

The council said the rural and sparse nature of Shropshire created higher costs than some other counties and it was holding a review in light of government cuts.

Fewer than 150 pupils aged five to 16 who are not entitled to free transport go to school under the Temporary Seats Payment Scheme (TSPS), in which parents pay a subsidised fare.

The current average cost to the authority of a TSPS seat on a school bus was £1,188 per year, the council said.

The majority of these pupils go to a school which is not their nearest or catchment area school due to parental choice.

New student discounts

Nine hundred students or parents make a financial contribution to their ticket through the post-16 assisted transport scheme for college and sixth form students.

The average cost of a ticket to the council for post-16 students was £662 per year, it added.

A spokesperson said: "We were among the country's unitary authorities that spent the most on home to school transport in 2009-10 and have some of the lowest charges for our discretionary schemes."

Proposals are to be discussed at a meeting of the protecting and enhancing our environment scrutiny committee on Tuesday.

Council officers have been exploring with bus operators the potential for firms to offer new student discounts, the authority said.

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