Fee hike hurts hip-pockets

CATCHING the bus to school is something many people would consider a straight-forward process.

But for families and their children in the Lockyer Valley that rely on this transport to get to and from school that has become more and more difficult.

A Toowoomba bus company that operates services in the region has hiked their fees to astronomical prices, hitting families hard in the hip-pocket during a time of crisis.

Local Brian Hanlon is furious with the Bus Queensland hike.

“I presented all the politicians with a statement and show that we care,” he said.

He said he had had a few phone calls from irate parents about the hike and terminology of the letter.

The letter stated: “Please be aware students will not be permitted to travel unless fares have been paid. Failure to pay fares could result in your child being left at school for you to pick up.”

“It should still be subsidised by the transport department, but my real concern is for the vast number of people who can't afford it,” Mr Hanlon said.

“The company sent a note home with each child saying the payment must either be made to the driver or via Eftpos and students were not permitted to travel unless a payment has been made.”

He said it is absolutely ridiculous and labelled it “extortion”.

“It is an offensive and cruel letter to be sent to the community at this fragile time,” Mr Hanlon said.

“If you had three kids you would be paying more than $130 a week, and if you happen to have a child going to high school is even more expensive,” Mr Hanlon said.

The letter outlines, a single trip for a high school student was $5.25 and a single primary school student is $4.20. For a return trip, the price is doubled.

“People might have got a grand or so from the flood but it will cost them a lot more to send their kids to school,” he said.

“This is blackmail when the community's emotion is very frail.

“Now there will more traffic on the road with distracted parents and the extra load around the school precinct will be 100 cars instead of a few buses.”

Mr Hanlon said most parents were paying $10 a week per child on the subsidised scheme.

“It is not up to the kids and parents to pay for it.”

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