Government unveils school bus cards - and they’ll cost £2

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Children will have to pay to use school buses from January 7, it’s been confirmed.

They will pay using smart cards that will go on sale next week at a price of £2 and will need to be topped up with money to pay for journeys.

The news bus cards

The news bus cards

The Go School cards will allow children and students travelling to Government-run schools and college courses to travel for 25p per journey.

Students will not have the option to use cash to pay the 25p fare.

Kate Beecroft MHK, member responsible for public transport, said: ‘Go School cards will be available to buy from Monday (December 8).

‘Encouraging passengers to use smart travel cards will enable the buses to run with increased efficiency and offer savings to regular passengers who pre-purchase journeys on their Go cards.

‘School bus fares will be reintroduced on Wednesday, January 7, so there is plenty of time for parents to ensure their children obtain a smart card in advance.’

Three types of Go School cards will be available:

1. Go School 1 (SCH1) is for primary school children and valid on school days up to 6pm

2. Go School 2 (SCH2) is for secondary school children and valid on school days up to 6pm

3. Go School 3 (SCH3) is for full time A level students (or those on equivalent post 16 vocational courses) aged 16-19 years attending the IoM College of Further and Higher Education. It is valid during college term time up to 9.30pm on journeys to/from the college to enable students to access evening classes. A college ID card must also be carried and shown to the driver. Journeys can be taken only on Douglas routes away from the college after 6pm.

All school journeys within the time limits above can be taken for a fare of 25p, which will be deducted from the card each time it is used.

Leaflets about the Go School cards will be distributed to all schools. People can obtain Go School cards online, by post or in person – from the Welcome Centre, Port Erin Station or Ramsey bus station. Full details can be found on the leaflet and on online. Cards will be available at www.iombusandrail.info by next Friday, December 12.

A mobile sales team will be visiting secondary school next week to make it easier for students to get their Go School cards.

QEII High School, Peel: Tuesday, December 9, 12.50pm-2pm, Main Hall.

Ballakermeen High School, Douglas: Wednesday, December 10, midday-1.40pm, Servery in seating area.

Castle Rushen High School: Thursday, December 11, 1pm-2pm, Library corridor.

Ramsey Grammar School: Thursday, December 11, morning break 10.50-11.05am in East building main hall; 12.45-1.50pm in West building hall adjacent to dining room.

St Ninian’s High School, both sites: Friday, December 12, and Monday, December 15, 1.10pm-2.00pm, Foyer area at both Lower School and Upper School.

IoM College of Further & Higher Education: Tuesday, December 16, and Wednesday, December 17, 11.45am to 1.15pm, College foyer.

There will be two options to buy cards on a cash only basis:

£2 – obtain a Go School card by paying the £2 activation fee and choose to go online to top-up from £10 to £50 worth of journeys

£10 – obtain a Go School card for the £2 activation fee and with £8 of journeys (32 x 25p journeys, equating to 16 days’ travel to and from school)

Children who receive free school meals will be exempt from paying a fare on school buses. Those eligible will be issued with a free Go School travel card from the Department of Education and Children before the Christmas holidays.

Children travelling to school without a Go School card or at other times will have to pay the standard fare - half fare for those aged 5 to 15 years, full fare for those aged 16 and above.

The IoM College ID card will still entitle other students to half fare travel.

See the website for full details of the scheme and the answers to frequently asked questions. http://www.iombusandrail.info

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