Wrexham school bus fare hike to be reviewed

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Staff reporter

CONTROVERSIAL plans to impose a fare increase on subsidised school bus services have hit a stumbling block.

Plans to increase the cost of a journey from £1.10 to £1.70 were given the go-ahead by Wrexham Council’s executive in December.

But furious members of Wrexham Independent Group have since ‘called in’ the decision, claiming it is unfair.

The relevant scrutiny committee will now re-look at the decision of the executive.

Cllr Dave Taylor, who represents the Cefn ward, said: “At a time when families are struggling and household budgets are being squeezed, parents are being forced to endure inflation-busting fare increases.

“We all understand the financial situation but this is a kick in the teeth for families in Wrexham.”

Cartrefle councillor Ron Prince added: “Over the past few weeksI have received many complaints from constituents  on the level of increase which is going to hurt many families, some of whom will be unable to pay.

"There needs to be a review of this decision with a lower increase.”

Running the buses currently costs the council £195,230 per year.

The local authority needs to make savings of £126,000 after the Welsh Government cut its supported public transport grant from £800,000 to £674,000 for 2013-14.

The increase will affect 15 school special routes across the county and will come into force in April 2013, if not delayed by the call-in process.

Trevor Coxon, Wrexham Council’s head of corporate and customer services, said: “I can confirm an application to call in this particular executive board decision was received on Monday and as proper officer I have accepted its validity.

"My democratic services staff are currently identifying potential dates for a meeting of a relevant scrutiny committee.”

Meanwhile, more than 100 people have signed an online petition against the fare rise.

Go to ipetitions.com/petition/school-bus-fares-set-to-rise-in-wrexham to sign the petition.

See full story in the Leader

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