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Child fare ban will go ahead.

TAXPAYERS' money used to fund half-price child fares on Merseyside buses has been officially stopped.

The region's Passenger Transport Authority last night rubber-stamped the decision revealed by the ECHO in January.

Councillors say the move will save pounds 2.3m a year from the public purse.

But they provided better news for motorists, freezing Mersey tunnel tolls at pounds 1.30 each way.

In agreeing the move to cut subsidies to bus companies, MPTA chairman Cllr Mark Dowd said "enough was enough."

A call from Lib Dem members for other budget cuts to allow half-fares to continue was defeated by Labour and Conservative members.

Children will now have to pay full adult fares from the start of April, unless bus operators decide to continue subsidising the service.

Merseytravel will continue to support cut-price weekly and monthly tickets for youngsters.

Opponents said the move would hit the region's poorest, but Cllr Dowd accused bus companies of making huge profits from taxpayers.

"We are not withdrawing children's half fares. Theywill still be available, more cheaply, through our pre-paid schemes."

Liverpool Liberal Democrat Cllr Peter Millea said: "I'm disappointed."
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 9, 2007
Words:186
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