Anger over £250 a day spent getting Highland pupil to school by cab


A SCOTTISH council is spending up to £250 a day to transport a pupil to and from school by taxi, it emerged today.
Highland Council admitted that its three biggest bills for return taxi fares for pupils over the past three years were £248, £234.83 and £224.44.
The biggest fare, averaged over a 192-day academic year, would give an annual taxi bill for one child of £47,616.
Highland Council did not reveal further details of how ferrying a single child to and from school cost so much.

Ferries as well as cabs help some Highland pupils get to and from school

But Robert Oxley of the Taxpayers’ Alliance said: “£248 a day is a huge amount of money to spend on just one taxi at a time when local authorities have to do more to save money.”
He added: “Understandably some taxi journeys are unavoidable, whether they are for children with special needs or in foster care, but that shouldn’t stop councils from ensuring value for taxpayers’ money from the overall bill.”
A council insider claimed some of the huge school transport bills were going on schoolchildren who had to be transported daily by taxi and ferry from the remote Ardnamurchan peninsula to Fort William.
The council is spending over £400,000 annually on school transport and spent almost £1.4m in the past three years.
It emerged last week that Scottish councils had spent at least £70m on transporting youngsters to school over three years.
Many councils refused to provide information, despite a request under the Freedom of Information Act, meaning the actual total is likely to be much higher.
No-one was available for comment from Highland Council.