Dunmow family has to pay £90 a month on top of £800 season pass after bus service is half-cancelled
- Credit: Archant
A furious mum has spoken out about her angst over a half-cancelled school bus that is still costing the family £800 a year, the cheapest rate that is offered for the 15 minute journey.
Just two months into the new school term, the 133 Arriva bus route has been cut in half, stranding Carole Rose’s son 16 miles away from college, and forcing her to pay for another season ticket on a separate service that will take him closer.
This will cost another £90 - every month - on top of the ticket she has already bought, for which the bus company is not offering any discount.
She bought the ticket for her son, Jack, before term started so he could catch the bus at Dunmow and travel to Colchester every day to study television and film production.
However last week they were told that from October 30 the bus will finish at Braintree, where he can get a number 70 bus, operated by First in Essex, the rest of the way.
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Carole says this will make his daily commute around three hours each way. On some mornings, he will have to get up at 5.30am to get in on time.
As he has already settled into the college and been doing well, the family say they have no choice but to pay extra for the new ticket. Carole cannot offer her son lifts because she does not work set hours and would not be available every day.
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She says car shares have not worked out and neither has the offer of petrol money to anybody who works in Colchester, nor asking grammar schools if they will allow him onto their school buses.
The bus company says in theory it would reduce the price of the ticket, but the £800 season pass, valid for anywhere in Essex and Bishop’s Stortford, is cheaper than a single ticket for the 15 minute journey from Dunmow to Braintree.
Therefore, there is no discount for what is now only half of the journey originally promised.
Carole said: “The only other option is to put him on a moped and I am not doing that. If something happened to him you wouldn’t forgive yourself, over money. I am furious and so frustrated and angry.”
Jack’s two brothers are also getting the bus to schools in Cambridge and Bishops Stortford totalling the family cost for school travel to around £3,000 for the year.
Arriva marketing manager, Richard Lewis, said “The price of the annual Essex and Stortford zone ticket your reader uses includes a substantial discount over the cost of paying daily fares. Because of the discount, it is still the cheapest option for travelling regularly between Dunmow and Braintree. Our customer services team are in contact with Mrs Rose.”