Furious parents complain about substantial fare increase introduced by bus service operator around King’s Lynn
Furious parents have complained about substantial increase in fares that have been introduced by a bus service operator around King’s Lynn.
Families claim ticket prices have gone up by over 70pc overnight without substantial warning, suddenly forcing them to rebudget their finances for the rest of the month.
Stagecoach, which operates Norfolk Green Buses, introduced the new ticket scheme just before hundreds of children returned to school after the Easter Holidays.
Katie Sutton, and her husband John, of West Winch, are among the parents up in arms after their daughter Lily was told her weekly ticket that used to cost £8 had changed and is now £18.
She said: “I am absolutely outraged Stagecoach have been able to do this. I’m calling on them to reinstate the ticket Lily used to travel on because this increase is too much for families to take on.”
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Lily, 13, catches the bus every day from the Poppyfields bus stop at Clenchwarton to Terrington St Clement to attend St Clement’s High School.
Mrs Sutton, who is married to John, added: “Lily ended up paying £2.40 day return to get her through Monday. I’ve contacted Stagecoach and our only other option is to pay £90 for a term pass - but that’s an awful lot of money for a family like ours to find in one go.
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“My son Jack goes up to secondary school next year, goodness knows where we will find the money for him.”
Sarah Chalke, and her husband Jamie, are also appalled by the changes. Their son and daughter both use the public bus service to get to Springwood High School from Clenchwarton.
Both now have to pay £18 for a weekly pass when before Ben, 17, paid £14.50 and Jess £10.50 - it means Jess’ ticket has increased by more than 70pc.
Mrs Chalke said: “I am absolutely disgusted with Stagecoach over this; my son says he hasn’t seen any notices about the changes at all on the buses.
“Families are on a tight budget and this now means our money for the month has gone - I don’t know how we’ll afford get the kids to school.”
She added: “A few of us have said that it’s probably cheaper to club together and pay for a taxi to take them.”
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council explained it had no control over bus fares for school children and the matter is dealt with entirely by bus operators.
Andy Campbell, managing director of Stagecoach East, said: “Passengers were informed of the price increases through notices on all buses prior to the Easter holidays.
“The increases have occurred as we move away from individual route tickets to a two-zone system for the region, which will offer passengers unlimited travel within that zone, weekends included. It will also simplify the fare network.”
He added: “Any decision to increase fares is not taken lightly. The price rise will allow us to invest more money within the area as we expand our existing fleet – we have already purchased five buses and are looking to buy a further 15 additional vehicles this year - and improve efficiency for passengers. Without this investment many services wouldn’t run as they wouldn’t be commercially viable.”