Child safety fears as bus fees increase and they have to walk to and from school

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PARENTS who face a 500 per cent rise in the cost of getting their children safely to school say the extra financial burden could end up costing young lives.

Andrew and Katherine Walker who have a five-year-old attending North Cotes Primary School from the Cherry Park Estate in the village says Lincolnshire County Council cutbacks have forced bus fees to rise from £12 per term to £63 per term adding the pressure of an extra £35 or more each month on to struggling family budgets which are already stretched.

Katherine said: “The stretch of road our children have to walk down is just over a mile with no lighting, no pavement, and little visibility for pedestrians and drivers alike. I accept that we have to pay for the service, however, it seems almost criminal to mean that our children may now have to walk. I wonder if a child has to die before we get either a pavement or some consideration from our council.”

Andrew Walker said the county council website says the authority will pay for school transport that is less than the statutory walking distance if the route is unsuitable and he feels it is neglecting the promise.

Lincolnshire County Council assistant director of children’s services Debbie Barnes said: “The afternoon journey was operated commercially at no cost to the county council. All the children are fare payers and none are entitled to free transport but we have now provided the Louth CallConnect mini-bus service and parents don’t have to book.”

She said the previous cheap fare was the operator’s decision.