HOME to school bus fares for 16 plus teenagers are due to rise to £880 a year from September.

The fare is double the charge which applied before September 2012 when it rose to £660. The current Cheshire West and Chester Council subsidy will be withdrawn completely in September 2014.

The decision dates back to 2011 when the Tory controlled council voted to remove the discretionary subsidy which it had no legal requirement to provide.

Schools chief Cllr Mark Stocks (Con) said at the time the move would save council tax payers almost £1m when the authority was facing a need to save over £25m. He gave an assurance the authority would work with families, schools and colleges affected by the changes.

A Farndon parent has contacted the Chronicle after receiving a letter about the cost. He is worried about sixth formers being charged £880 a year to travel on the school bus that has previously been free.

He said: “My son attends Bishop Heber High School and we have received a letter asking for this to be paid.”

He feels the borough council ‘are in danger of creating a system where only the wealthy and privileged will be able to continue with their education regardless of talent but the lower paid will struggle’.

A council spokesman said: “Transport charges for 16-plus students were first introduced in 1998. The charge of £880 for 2013-14 was first agreed following a full consultation in 2011.

“The proposal was to withdraw post-16 transport with effect from 2012. However, as a result of the consultation feedback the decision was made not to withdraw the subsidy from September 2012 but to implement it on an incremental basis increasing the cost to £660 from September 2012 and £880 from September 2013.

“The £880 reflects the average cost of transporting post-16 students across the borough. Transport is provided free of charge to 16-plus students who qualify under the current 16-plus policy and whose family is in receipt of one of a number of qualifying benefits. No family is required to pay for more than one eligible 16-plus student.”