Buss pass subsidy Catch 22 for teen

Michelle Winter with daughter Murron of Bedford
Michelle Winter with daughter Murron of Bedford

A teenager from Putnoe could be left out of pocket after being granted a subsidised bus pass.

Murron Winter, 16, who is due to study a mechanics course at Bedford College this September was told by her local authority she could qualify for a free bus pass if she was turned down for a subsidised pass. However, Bedford Borough Council told her she qualified for subsidised tranpsort.

Her mother, Michelle Winter said: “My daughter needs to get to college by bus. A nine month pass costs £468. The college would provide a travel bursary of £450, if council turned us down for subsidised transport. Unfortunately for us, we’ve been accepted for subsidised transport – so I fail to see why we must pay £378. Because we’ve been accepted for subsidised transport the college won’t pay if we turn it down. It would have been simpler if she’d been turned down for a pass. A Stagecoach Megarider costs £409 a year. If £378 is a heavily subsidised council price just how much is the full price? Begging the question who are the tranpsort providers the council are using and is the taxpayer getting value for money?”

A council spokesman said: “Bedford Borough Council has offered to provide subsidised travel to Bedford College at a cost of £398.80. The student is entitled to this and it would be improper to refuse eligible students so that they could apply for bursaries elsewhere. If a student wishes to refuse subsidised transport by Bedford Borough Council they are entitled to do so, and it would be a decision for another party to decide whether they wish to award the bursary under those circumstances.”