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Holiday bus fares shock for children; Company may end subsidies as another cuts services.

Byline: SIMON DUDMAN

DISCOUNTED bus travel for children and young people in Coventry may be axed during the summer holidays - to save money.

Half-price subsidies for youngsters between five and 15 are set to be removed in August next year if proposals put forward by Centro are agreed.

The result would be that West Midlands parents would have to pay full fare for children when they took them on trips during the long break.

At present, youngsters get 50 per cent off the price of a ticket all year round.

Transport chiefs hope the move will save them up to pounds 400,000 a year.

The scheme is set to go before the policy and strategy committee of West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority on Monday.

A spokesman for Centro, the body which co-ordinates public transport in the West Midlands, said: "This move has come as part of a best-value review and the recommendations are being put out for consultation with parents, children, students and schools.

"The review recommends a continuation of the current half-price fare scheme for schoolchildren with some amendments for the future, and those recommendations will be voted on by the Passenger Transport Authority next week.

"The primary purpose of the half-fare scheme is for educational purposes and it will continue during the academic year between September and July.

"We will continue to guarantee that children aged five to 15 only pay half fares to and from their place of education."

Phil Bateman, of Travel West Midlands, which carries almost one million passengers every working day, said: "We are currently in consultation with Centro and Passenger Transport Authority over this issue."

Comment, Page 10

How it would hit a family

UNDER the current pricing structure, a family of two adults and two children, would expect to pay a total of pounds 3.90 for a journey into the city passing through nine or more fare stages. If the proposals went ahead this cost would rise to pounds 5.20.

The same family, travelling to the city centre and passing between four and eight fare stages, such as from Tile Hill North, Allesley or Walsgrave Hospital would expect to pay pounds 3 at present and pounds 4 if the half price fares are axed.

If they were to travel just three fare stages along the route, such as from Little Heath to the city centre, the family would pay pounds 2.40 at present and pounds 3.20 under the proposed scheme.

A journey passing through just two stages, such as from the Alvis Retail Park to the city would cost pounds 1.80 at present and pounds 2.40 under the proposed scheme.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 28, 2002
Words:445
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