A MUM has hit out at high costs for bus tickets for her children to go to school.

Enrica Conrotto’s 11-year-old daughter has recently started at St Peter’s School in Southbourne, and she travels on the bus each day to and from the school.

The family lives in Charminster, and the bus fare costs £5.20 for a return ticket.

“I don’t understand why they advertise so much the £2 cap for a single journey, and then are asking our children to pay more than £4 for going to school, which should be their right, much more than my right to go to Castlepoint for shopping for £2,” the 47-year-old mum said.

“I tried to call Morebus to understand better, and basically they told me that the school buses are not included in the £2 cap because they are dedicated buses for the schools. They just go to the school in the morning, and they take back the children after school.

“For me, it was not a sufficient reason. They are dedicated buses, but then the same buses are used during the day for other routes, so they are not private buses.”

Morebus said that school buses are not included in the £2 scheme as the subsidy it receives from the government does not cover these services.

The government website on the £2 cost cap says: “Some types of routes are not covered by this scheme so they are not included, for example, coach services, school only services or airport services.”

Enrica said she had looked into the half-termly or termly bus passes for her daughter, but that these are only cheaper if her daughter does not miss school at all in that period.

“£5.20 per day is more than £100 per month, and it’s a big amount for the family,” she said.

“The full term is more than £300 and it’s a huge amount to pay in one go. If you pay for half a term, you save one or two journeys only.

“I didn’t do it because if my daughter doesn’t go to school one day because she is ill and one day because she has to go to the optician, then there is no reason to pay for the full amount.”

She added that supporting public transport is key, and that it must be affordable for everyone, especially schoolchildren who have to go to school each day.

Morebus general manager, Richard Wade, said: “The costs of providing dedicated school transport are far higher, per passenger, than mainstream bus services.

"Although, in practice, many school buses do other work in the daytime between schools, this is often due to driver duties and to even out the mileage of our fleet - with other buses doing less work as a result.

“Schools transport is not included within the £2 fare cap which is a part of the Help for Households scheme, funded by the Government.

"The subsidy we receive for participating does not take into account school services operated. The fares we charge reflect the cost of operation and, without that level of fare income, we would have to withdraw those dedicated school routes.

“There are existing measures in place for those who are unable to pay for school transport. Anyone who feels this applies to them can find out if they are eligible for help with the cost of home to school transport by visiting their local council’s website.”

BCP Council provides school transport assistance for eligible children and young people. The council’s home to school transport policy can be found on its website, which sets out the requirements for this support.