Petitioners fight against school bus fares rise


Liam Randall

A PETITION has been launched in opposition to a controversial fare increase on subsidised school bus services in Wrexham.

The measures will see fares on 15 school special routes across the county rise from £1.10 to £1.70 from April 2013.

The increase works out at about 55 per cent and would see parents having to spend an extra £115 per year per pupil.

The decision was approved by seven votes to three by members of Wrexham Council’s executive board on December 11.

It comes after the Welsh Government cut the council’s supported public transport grant from £800,000 to £674,000 for 2013/14.

However, members of the Wrexham Independent Group, who voted against the decision, have now launched a petition calling for a less severe incremental increase.

Leader of the group, Cllr David A Bithell, is calling on all parents who will be affected by the rise to sign the petition.

Cllr Bithell said: “Following the decision made at the executive board on December 11, our group voted against the massive rise in school bus fares but were not against a phased approach, say over a two-year period.

“We have decided to have an online petition as this will affect 600 parents right across the county borough.

“The grant has been cut by the Welsh Government in March this year and representation was made to the minister who delayed the cut pending discussions with local authorities and the transport consortia (TAITH).

“These discussions are on-going and we believe as a group that the decision should have been delayed until the outcome of those discussions and the task and finish group which is meeting in Wrexham this week.

“It is wrong just to pick on school transport as a quick-fix solution to save money, as most of the school specials fall within a subsidy of less than £1 per pupil where other forms of transport the council support is subsidised up to £3.94 per passenger trip. That cannot be fair.

“We need to ensure we have value for money and that’s why we believe the council should have waited for the full review to take place both at Wrexham and TAITH.

“I would ask for those who are going to be affected to sign the petition.”

Fellow independent board member Cllr Joan Lowe added: “It is far too excessive and will impact on hard working parents, some of which will be unable to afford this massive rise.

The petition can be signed online at

Affected services

School special bus services that will be affected by the fare increase are:

Queensway – Ysgol Clywedog, Wrexham

Cefn Mawr – Ysgol Rhiwabon, Ruabon

Holt, Rossett – Darland School, Rossett

Southsea – Ysgol Clywedog

Johnstown – Ysgol Y Grango, Rhos

Rhos – Ysgol Y Grango

Rhosymedre, Plas Madoc – Ysgol Rhiwabon

Marchwiel – Ysgol Clywedog

Plas Madoc – Acrefair School/Trevor – Garth School, Llangollen

Caia Park – St Joseph’s School, Wrexham

Gresford, Marford – Darland School

Queensway – Ysgol Clywedog

Burton, Rossett, Gresford – St Joseph’s School

Gresford, Marford – Darland School

Acton – St Joseph’s School

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