I’ve been hearing a lot of negative comments about buses recently both from young people and their parents, mainly focussing on two areas:
- There aren’t enough school buses: at the moment a number of youngsters I work with have been late to school, and late home due to over-crowding on buses. I’d expect this to be the case for the first day but a week later I’m still hearing of youngsters who are having to wait for a third or fourth bus to get to school because they’re all full. If this continues the bus companies will need to look seriously at their capacity building or we’ll find more and more parents looking at other options to get their young people to school.
- Sixth formers aren’t able to use a Kent Freedom Pass: having had them for the last five years at £50 a year they now get hit by the “normal” bus fares. So for example, if you go to school in Tunbridge Wells and live in Tonbridge, as many of the young people I work with do, you have to buy a monthly weekly ticket from Arriva (at a cost of £58) which entitles you to travel anywhere in the Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells zone but no further than Hildenborough, and not to Crowborough, Hadlow, or East Peckham, for example. It would make sense for Kent County Council or the bus companies to find a way of extending this scheme to benefit thousands of youngsters.