A MUM says she has been left footing an unexpected bill for her son’s bus fares.
Rena Errington says she was expecting to pay £1.80 a day for Nicholas, 11, to travel from their home in Parkland Court, Seaham, to his new school, St Aidan’s RC in Sunderland, on a Go North East bus, but the youngster was charged a total of £3.90.
The mum said although the school is in a different authority area, it the nearest Catholic secondary to the family.
Bank worker Rena, 48, said her son, Callum, 13, is also a pupil at St Aidan’s, but because he started two years ago before Durham County Council changed its policy on school bus fares, he travels for free.
She said when Nicholas was preparing to leave St Cuthbert’s Primary in Seaham, she was aware she would have to pay for his fare and was given information saying he could get an under 18 key card, which would allow him to travel any single journey for 90p.
After investigating, Rena, who is married to lecturer Steven, 53, found out the card only lets young people to travel outside peak times, which are after 9.30am and not between 2.30pm and 5pm.
She said: “I feel we have been misled and I know of five other boys from his class whose parents are in the same boat. It works out at quite a lot of money out of the family budget every month and if you think he could potentially be there until he is 18, it is a lot.
“The Government keeps saying parents have the freedom to choose where their children go to school, but that is not the case.”
A spokesman for Go North East said it has one of the most generous child fare policies of any bus company in the UK.
He said: “The cheapest ticket option for Ms Errington’s son to travel to school is our Get Around weekly ticket which for just £13.90 gives unlimited travel on Go North East buses at anytime in addition to travel from home to school.
“Longer term tickets are available which provide bigger savings.”