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Burgate bus fares set to soar
STUDENTS travelling from Salisbury to Burgate and Trafalgar schools next term will see a “significant and dramatic”
increase in their ticket fares.
Annual passes for Wilts & Dorset’s Salisbury Reds school buses will be increasing from the beginning of term while students will have less network coverage.
A pass from Salisbury to Burgate School now costs about £770 for the year, from about £630 last year, according to the school.
And youngsters were previously able to use their tickets on any of Wilts & Dorset’s evening and weekend services, but they will now have to pay an extra £90 a year for that service, on top of the increased ticket price.
Last school year their passes allowed them to use the X3 service to get to school in the morning when the school buses were full, but they will no longer be able to do so with the new pass.
The firm says it has altered the routes and added more stops to improve the service, eliminating the need to use the X3 service in the morning. But Burgate School says it is unhappy about the increases.
Paddy Padfield, assistant headteacher, said: “In the last few months on behalf of parents we have negotiated with Wilts & Dorset to make it economically viable but we, alongside parents, remain unhappy.
“One of the big issues parents have is the lack of network coverage. The pass is now restricted to buses to take them to and from school.”
Wilts & Dorset couldn’t confirm how much the fares had increased by as it said it’s not a “like for like” comparison, but said it now works out as about £3.74 per day.
Andrew Sherrington, operations manager for Salisbury Reds, said the scholar ticket price rises were essential as the Burgate and Trafalgar school routes are not subsidised by councils and that rising operating costs would make the service run at a loss without the increase.
He said: “This is the only way we can sustain these services. The prices still reflect good value for money compared to the other alternative ways of transporting children to rural schools.
“We have designed the routes to be more convenient to many of the pupils working closely with the team at Burgate School.”
He added that the X3 services between Bournemouth, Ringwood, Fordingbridge and Salisbury, run by its sister company Morebus, will continue to operate with a full timetable, and scholar travel passes would continue to be accepted after school hours for children to take part in after school activities.
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