Council takes back free bus pass because house “moved”

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Matthew is now having to pay to take the bus to school.
Matthew is now having to pay to take the bus to school.

By Cara Sulieman

 

A SINGLE mother has been told that her son cannot get a free bus to school anymore – because their house has “moved” 18 metres.

Carole Woods is outraged that her 13-year-old son Matthew now has to pay for his bus fare after Fife Council said their house is now 18 metres closer to the school than they first thought.

And that 18 metres means that they are now under the two-mile limit for a free bus pass.

The new measurement came to light late last year when Carole received a letter from the council.

She said: “In November 2008, I received a letter saying they decided that, for whatever reason, I was no longer over two miles and the measurement was 1.993 miles.

“So my house has apparently moved and I have to return my son’s bus pass.

“How is it possible to measure the same distance within a year and get such varying results? This is ludicrous.”

Since receiving the letter, Carole has been fighting the council’s decision and refused to hand back the pass.

But earlier this week Matthew’s pass was damaged and he handed it into the school office to get a new one.

Carole is now worried there is no way he can get it back.

She said: “They had been trying to get it off him before and I told the school to contact me, not my son, about the pass.

“Now that it’s been handed in I don’t know how he’s going to get to school.”

And this isn’t the first time that Carole has debated with the council over the distance.

She said: “In 2007, I was initially told that I was not within the limit, but I insisted after travelling several times over the shortest route that I was.

“They re-measured it several times and then said the measurement was in fact 2.004 miles and that therefore my son was entitled to free transport.”

Fife Council defended their actions, claiming that the whole area was recently been re-measured, and not just Matthew’s route.

Lee Cessford, transport resource manager, said: “Distances are measured by the shortest reasonable walking route from the front gate of the pupil’s home to the nearest gate of the school.

“When pupils are due to start school, travel between home and school is reviewed to ensure pupils are being offered the correct entitlement – this process takes into account various considerations such as distance, suitability of the walking routes and changes to infrastructure.

“In this case, due to recent re-measurements in the area, the walking route has been reassessed and the revised route is below two miles.

“Unfortunately, this affects the entitlement of some pupils to free transport but no passes have been withdrawn without notice being given.

“We have to administer the policy as fairly as possible. We aim to make sure that everyone who is entitled to free school transport receives it.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. this is so typical of local authorities. Maybe all children like us golden oldies should have a free pass to get to school whatever the distance. Obviously if they are really near it would be quicker to walk anyway.

  2. I guess that all the family concerned can do is to ask for the distance to be re-measured over a “safe route”, what the council considers the shortest may be crossing a road on a bend for example to walk round the inside of the bend when it may be safer to walk round the outside of the bend – it it is only 18 metres it would not take many examples of this. Also she shoudl check that the distance is from the front gate and has acutally been measured by a surveyor and not a computer system.

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