Authority costs students ""hundreds of pounds"" in rail fares

PUBLISHED: 12:59 20 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:10 11 May 2010

Cllr Susan van de Ven

Cllr Susan van de Ven

A COUNCILLOR says a local authority has cost students hundreds of pounds by failing to inform them about cheaper travel passes. Train operator First Capital Connect charge post-16 students using Meldreth station £580 for an annual pass to travel to Cambri

A COUNCILLOR says a local authority has cost students hundreds of pounds by failing to inform them about cheaper travel passes.

Train operator First Capital Connect charge post-16 students using Meldreth station £580 for an annual pass to travel to Cambridge, while a Goldrider annual bus ticket to the city costs £555.

However, families were shocked to discover the Cambridgeshire Education Transport office can issues a rail pass for £352, a saving of £228. Proportionally similar savings are available for users of Shepreth and Foxton stations.

Cllr Susan van de Ven, county councillor for the Melbourn ward, said: "Students are penalised financially if they live at a distance from their designated sixth form college. The County's failure to communicate clearly and effectively has cost a lot of people a lot of money."

Following pressure from Cllr van de Ven, the county council has agreed to exchange Goldrider bus tickets for the cheaper rail passes, and refund the £205 difference. However, they have imposed a deadline of this Friday for anyone wishing to make the change.

A county council spokesman said: "We have had lengthy discussions with Councillor Van de Ven about this issue, and at our last meeting, she indicated that she was happy with our proposals.

"We wrote to every student who currently holds a Goldrider pass, advising them that they might be entitled to a rail pass instead, and have written to other students to tell them about other refunds which may be available.

"This information has been copied to the colleges. The option for students to apply for rail passes is published each year in our Post 16 booklets and on the County Council's website. The half-term deadline is important, since we will incur extra costs we if do not cancel the Goldrider passes with Stagecoach by then," he said.

Anyone wishing to take advantage of the reduced rate should call the Education Transport office on 01223 699790 or 0345 0455 208.

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