Cash strapped rural families will be further hit by proposed hike in school transport fees

Rural families whose children are dependent on school transport may face further financial burdens if a proposed hike in school transport fees goes ahead, a local TD has warned.

Loughrea Fine Gael deputy Ulick Burke says many country families are already put to the pin of their collars with income levies, reduced working hours and job insecurity.

Reports that the Government may increase school transport fees from €300 to €500 and impose this increase on primary school children also is unacceptable, he says.

“This suggestion was mooted in media reports last weekend and it is a measure under consideration by Government in the next Budget. This is another cut which originated from the Board Snip Report. It would appear that every cost saving measure in this report is directed at those who have paid their way in this country over the last few years.

“It begs the question as to what cost cutting measures will be directed at those who have ripped off this country for whom every man, woman and child will carry the debt for years to come.”

Rural families, due to their geographic location, are more dependent on school transport, he says, and many are already reeling from the effects of the economic downturn.

Deputy Burke is concerned that hikes in transport fees could result in more children walking or cycling to school, often on dangerous roads.

“In addition, I would be very concerned that arising out of any increase in school transport that children could be forced to walk or cycle on dangerous roads with large volumes of traffic.”

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