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London parents, did you know about public transport changes?

(190 Posts)
SilverDragonfly1 Thu 28-May-20 16:52:44

If so, apologies for bringing it up again but I haven't noticed it being discussed here.

One of the bailout conditions for TfL is to stop allowing children free travel on buses, meaning you may need to add bus fares into your budget next term. This is temporary, but I can't find any indication of how temporary. I have to admit, free travel was what allowed us to keep above water as a family when my son went to secondary- if it hadn't been there, his first choice school would have really impacted our budget.

If anyone has better info about the decision than me (not hard really), please share.

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SpongeBobsPineapple Thu 28-May-20 16:56:44

Hi, yes I did know this but I didn’t know it was temporary. I’ve not been able to find any information either.
It doesn’t impact us as a family but I was chatting to friends out of London who were rather pleased London would be dragged down to their level! We must be about the only place where children don’t pay and bus fares are reasonable for adults.

Reythemamajedi Thu 28-May-20 16:58:21

I didn't know this. Shit. I have two that use the bus daily.

Lordfrontpaw Thu 28-May-20 17:02:10

Yes - and the whole congestion charge extension, some roads being closed off, freedom pass use time change...

This is getting silly. Transport charges will rise too no doubt.

These may be temporary - but I can’t see them undoing it.

SilverDragonfly1 Thu 28-May-20 17:05:40

Sorry to hear that Rey. I only found out about it in passing- with everything else going on and only affecting London I think the news got buried rather. Although I think London is often perceived as a place for the rich, there are a lot of families whose lives are about to be made a bit harder because of this condition. Especially those who have already suffered financially with CV19 in other ways.

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SilverDragonfly1 Thu 28-May-20 17:06:56

Lordfrontpaw, already confirmed that fares will be rising above inflation sad

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Lordfrontpaw Thu 28-May-20 17:14:50

What a surprise! I suspected as much but didn’t have the details. I know 3 friends with elderly parents living alone who visit several times a week (driving across town every day at the moment to drop off shopping and yell through the windows). The new congestion zone thing will cost a fortune.

zonkin Thu 28-May-20 17:20:30

Yes I did know about it. It was in the news. Allegedly it is temporary. However, I do have my doubts about that. It does impact our family.

gnatgnu Thu 28-May-20 17:23:10

It’s all been done in a pretty shady way - it’s very hard to find any details at all. This will impact us too sad

ChristopherTracy Thu 28-May-20 17:49:19

I in fact didn't know this. Does that mean that local authorities on the edges of London will have to start subsidising secondary school travel as they do up the road in non London boroughs if you are over say 3 miles from school?

SilverDragonfly1 Thu 28-May-20 17:55:28

I don't know. I certainly don't envy anyone trying to wring money out of our council...

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ChristopherTracy Thu 28-May-20 18:02:53

this is what the council currently say:
Where the school attended is not accessible within a time tabled journey of less than 45 minutes to a Primary School, or 75 minutes to a Secondary School by which the Transport for London free travel concession applies throughout the entirety of the journey, assistance may be available.

It goes onto say 2 miles for under 8s and 3 miles for over 8s.

Malmontar Thu 28-May-20 18:10:31

@christophertracy I think this applies to them having to provide private transport for a pupil, but I may be mistaken. I think they will have to reverse this once schools go back, unless they change it to just FSM receiving it. Which will be an admin nightmare.
I'm dreading the tube fares going up. I don't think they were reasonable. Comparing it to places out of London is silly too. Owning a car is much more affordable out of London and bus journeys are generally much longer and buses less packed so it's more expensive to run the routes. There will be a lot of families who will really struggle because of this.

SilverDragonfly1 Thu 28-May-20 18:13:59

There will have to be some sort of provision made- I would be astonished to find the government had realised that when they made the condition though. So it will probably be some time before it's agreed where the money will come from in terms of whether the gov just pay the councils what's needed or demand that the money received from residents is further stretched.

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SE13Mummy Thu 28-May-20 20:38:31

There've been a couple of petitions going around since the announcement was made. It's a supposedly 3 month suspension but even that will run to the end of September so there will almost certainly be families who've made decisions about secondary schools based on free bus travel who will now struggle. The ZIP card system will have to change if there's going to be provision made for those children from low income families and I'm sure that will be expensive as well as being a complete faff. That won't help the families that don't qualify for pupil premium but are already on their knees either. I foresee a number of the most vulnerable Y6 pupils never making it to secondary because it's yet another expense that their families don't have spare money for.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Thu 28-May-20 20:51:46

I am always surprised that TFL continues to fund non-means tested free travel for the over 60s when the state retirement age is so much older. This is very costly for TFL and not really justifiable.

Charging children is not new for TFL, until last year school children living just outside the TFL area but attending a school or college 6th form within it were required to pay child fares for TFL up until the age of 18 but adult fares thereafter, a very expensive travel year for a DC in upper 6th with a September birthday. A new card came into force this year reducing the fares to child level for the whole school year but it is still expensive for a child to travel to attend what is most probably their nearest school, or nearest school that offers their 6th form course.

Parents need to be making a big fuss about the removal of free child travel otherwise it will be made permanent. If TFL needs to save money then obviously the over 60s travelcard needs to be increased to an over 67s travelcard. My neighbour is a senior partner of a very large law firm, he can travel to work for free but 12 years olds are being charged. This is wrong. The mayor has been using free travel to the over 60s to get their votes, parents need to make sure he knows that if he doesn't re-instate free child fares he will be losing theirs.

Malmontar Thu 28-May-20 21:38:00

@cakeisalwaystheamswer I completely agree. I think, if not increasing their age, I think he needs to remove the free tube travel on the freedom pass. Not even over 11s go on for free, they pay half price. I hope if they have to pay it's not something ridiculous. DD relies heavily on her zip card to get to and from clubs and school. Her school is 3 miles away but the whole journey is 2 very busy inner London high roads and junctions and roundabouts. Without proper cycle lanes, there is no way I'd let her cycle.
Also, I think this will massively increase congestion- you're better off getting a car for a family than using public transport for a day out; or anywhere really.

Malmontar Thu 28-May-20 21:39:39

Sorry to add, I think kids who live on the borders of anywhere are negatively impacted by some things, especially transport and education access. It's a shame.

LynetteScavo Thu 28-May-20 21:50:47

I foresee a number of the most vulnerable Y6 pupils never making it to secondary because it's yet another expense that their families don't have spare money for.

But if the school is more than three miles travel will be payed, surely. Like it is in the rest of the country?
It costs DD £7.20 day in the Midlands for a return ticket to school by public transport because she's not at the nearest school, but it's free for those with no school nearer to them.

I'm sorry that children will have to pay for transport in London. I've always thought it was really special that children could travel for free and hoped to see it rolled out across the rest of the country.

wrinklin Thu 28-May-20 21:59:58

@LynetteScavo But if the school is more than three miles travel will be payed, surely. Like it is in the rest of the country?

Only if it's the only school they can attend. If there's a closer scho your DC could have got a place at then I don't think it applies.

wrinklin Thu 28-May-20 22:02:07

p.s. Here's the conditions for free travel: www.gov.uk/free-school-transport

SquirmOfEels Thu 28-May-20 22:05:15

It's not been well publicised

But we've all seen how, pre-COVID, pupils would ram themselves on buses to go only a stop or two. That simply must not happen.

Allowing free transport only for those whose nearest school test couid offer them a place was over 2 or 3 miles away (depending on age, ie the statutory entitlement) strikes me as likely to be the rule for quite some time to come

Malmontar Thu 28-May-20 22:45:11

@SquirmOfEels I must admit this is also true. It really bothers me how teenagers behave like the bus is theirs, when they're the ones on them for free. I think a system like the one in NYC could work. They get 4 or 5 free rides per day.

SE13Mummy Thu 28-May-20 23:01:27

@LynetteScavo for a number of our pupils, the allocated school may only be 2 miles from home but the walk would be along the dual carriageway in front of Belmarsh, or it's 3 miles but along another bit of Thamesmead dual carriageway and up a steep hill before trudging across a bleak common. Had parents known there would be no free bus travel, they would have had an opportunity to put different preferences on the CAF but the sudden withdrawal means they were denied the opportunity to factor that in.

I know DD1 sometimes catches a bus part of the way to her school, usually when she's running late. It's only a couple of miles so she doesn't need to and having to pay for it would definitely make her think twice. She'd already declared that she wouldn't be getting on buses anymore because of coronavirus but she has the luxury of a reasonably safe walking route to school. And she's 15.

Aria20 Fri 29-May-20 07:05:21

If this is only for 3 months perhaps it's aimed to stop families having days out in London over the summer holidays? Avoid London becoming a hot spot for transmission again?

It is a shame if it continues though!

A yearly child bus pass just outside of zone 6 is nearly 500 and I'm pretty sure the 3 miles thing only counts if that's the school the LA has given you, not if it's your choice to choose a grammar school 5 miles away.

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