Parents left to foot the bill after student bus service cut

PUBLISHED: 08:55 08 April 2011

A DEDICATED school bus that transported dozens of teenagers from Soham to colleges in Cambridge has been cut, leaving hard-pressed parents to foot the bill for transport.

The bus service, known informally as the Fenland Express, was taken on by Cambridgeshire County Council in 2003 using money provided by Government and was designed to encourage students in Soham to stay on in education by transporting them directly into Hills Road and Long Road Colleges in Cambridge along with CRC.

As of July however, funding for the service will no longer be available as the cash has been withdrawn by the Government, leaving parents to pay for ever-increasing transport costs.

Soham town councillor, Rosemary Aitchison, told the Ely Standard the change would be tough on families.

“I would imagine that some families will find it very hard work to pay for the cost of transport,” she said. “I think it could stop a lot of youngsters going into higher education.”

“The bus used to drop them off at the colleges but it will be a two stage journey for students if they use public transport, which will make for a very long day for the kids.”

“I don’t think there is any solution because there just isn’t any money. It’s the same with everything at the moment, everyone is suffering in different ways.”

Cllr Aitchison also said that the Soham Town Forum would be writing a letter to the county council to protest about the decision.

A spokesman for the county council said: “Previously in these areas the parents used to run a bus and we took on the support of that bus in 2003 when money was made available to us from the Government.

“However, the Government has now withdrawn the grant to run this service and therefore we no longer have the money to pass on.”

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