THE decision to phase in an increase in travel costs for students in south Shropshire over three years has gone down badly with campaigners.

Steve Aze, from Church Stretton, one of the leaders of a fight to get Shropshire Council to think again about increasing the cost of a travel pass for sixth form students by more than 60%, is less than impressed by the decision to phase the increase over three years.

Mr Aze said the rise means that the cost of the pass is two-and-half times what it was three years ago but had it been in line with inflation the increase would just have been £9.90.

“So I continue to get fleeced for sending my kids to school,” said Steve Aze.

“It’s just what we in south Shropshire were dreading when from the unitary authority with people in SY1 making decisions that thump people in SY6 and SY7.”

But Ludlow MP Philip Dunne, who has said young people should take part time jobs to pay for the increase, has welcomed the latest development.

He has welcomed the decision by Shropshire Council to limit increases in post-16 transport contributions for the coming academic year to 28%, rather than 68% as originally proposed in a recent consultation.

“A number of local residents recently expressed their concerns to me about this planned rise, so I urged Shropshire Council to look carefully at these responses and aim to limit any increase to as little as possible," said Mr Dunne.

“Clearly, Shropshire Council must take action to balance its books and make necessary savings. But I am pleased that the council has reduced the rise in transport costs this year to less than half that originally proposed.

“This will help more students in the more rural areas of Shropshire with transport costs for their post 16 education.”

“The council have been looking at ways to reduce the costs of subsidising post-16 transport, a non-statutory area, which is currently £550,000 per year.

"Decreases to the subsidy will be phased in over next three years to help reduce the financial burden to the council.”