A campaign for free transport for village children facing almost a three-fold hike in bus fares to attend their local high school in Codsall has won the backing of West Midlands MEP James Carver.
Parents of around 70 Codsall Community High School pupils who live in Perton are furious at being landed with a 176 per cent rise in fares, taking the cost of an annual pass to £625.
The school broke the shock news with a message on its website after breaking up for the summer holidays, sparking a deluge of angry comments from stunned parents.
Mr Carver, an independent Euro MP, said: “This huge increase has been the straw to break the camel’s back, as the issue of paying for school transport for Perton children to attend their local high school has always been a bone of contention.
“Quite a number, between 50 and 70, live a fraction under the three-mile limit for free transport, but it’s still a lengthy trek and of most concern is that it is not a safe route.
“Children have to cross the main A41 which has no official crossing point and walk along a rural, but busy road with a narrow pavement. Half the year, they have to walk in the dark, lighting is poor, and the route passes quiet wooded areas and fields. It is a recipe for disaster.
“I have signed the parents’ petition which has already attracted 1,500 signatures and I’m writing to Staffordshire County Council urging them to look again at the serious safety issues along the route from Perton to the high school and to acknowledge that it is far from suitable and an accident waiting to happen.
“I’m told the villagers were promised free transport when plans to build a local high school were dropped many years ago. There have been unsuccessful campaigns previously. With this massively unrealistic increase parents have had enough and are now even more determined to fight for a free service for all the children.”
The photo shows part of the "safe" route to school!