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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2021 9:30 am 
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Not sure why I bothered with this, although might be of interest to those with school runs.

But mum Ms Arleta Reiff-Marganiec certainly has a point. I think :-s


Mum slams council for 'incomprehensible' decision stopping brother and sister using same taxi to school

https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news ... on-5960897

'As a tax-payer I am incensed that the council is willing to forego this income, while considering cutting services further'

Image
Image: Arleta Reiff-Marganiec/Leicester Mercury

A Leicestershire mum-of-two left doing an unnecessary school run twice a day has branded a decision by the county council to end a seat purchase scheme for school transport as ‘incomprehensible’ given the council’s financial position.

Arleta Reiff-Marganiec, mum to two secondary school children from Great Glen, has criticised Leicestershire County Council for scrapping a scheme which allowed parents to purchase unused seats on school transport if they did not qualify for the free provision themselves.

Her son, Ciaran, 14, has had free school transport in the form of a taxi since he started at his secondary school, but his sister, Isla, 12, however, did not qualify for the transport when she went up to secondary - so cannot ride alongside her brother despite the taxi already making the journey to Manor High School in Oadby.

For a pupil under the age of eight to be eligible for free school transport, they have to live more than two miles from their school, and for pupils aged eight or older, the distance is extended to three miles.

But if a parent chooses to send their child to a school that is not the closest school with available spaces to them, they lose their right to transport.

Ms Reiff-Marganiec originally applied to send Ciaran to the nearest secondary school to them, but he did not get a place there. Because of this, he was eligible for the transport when he was offered a school place that was more than three miles away.

In Isla’s case, however, she opted to send her to the same school as her brother. As the choice was the family's, this meant she would not get free rides.

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Ciaran Reiff-Marganiec, 14, catching his free school transport after his normal taxi had temporarily been replaced with a mini bus. (Image: Arleta Reiff-Marganiec/Leicester Mercury)

Last year, she was able to purchase Isla a seat in the same taxi as her son for £800. When she went to do the same for this academic year, she found the scheme had been cancelled.

Ms Reiff-Marganiec said: “It’s a ridiculous situation. Basically, the taxi comes, picks up my son and I take my daughter, put her in the car and we follow the taxi. And then the reverse in the afternoon.

“But, at the moment, I don’t want to give up his seat in the taxi just in case they decide to cancel it. Frankly we hoped that the fare-paying scheme would be reinstated and seats can only be bought on an existing service. So it’s two car journeys for exactly the same route.

"I am a working mother, so longer term I cannot do the school run every day. But, as a mother, I cannot justify having one child be picked up from the front door, and waking the other up an hour earlier to ask them to walk the 6km to school.”

Councillor Ozzy O’Shea, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We’re talking to the family. The fare-paying scheme was discretionary and, as the Marganiecs acknowledge, fewer children use the service year after year.

“We appreciate it’s a different situation with taxis so we’ll be looking at ways of adapting the farepaying scheme.”

Ms Reiff-Marganiec added that the removal of the scheme was ‘incomprehensible’ to her given how desperate the council currently is to find sources of funding.

A freedom of information request revealed that 393 seats had been brought over the past five years. At £800 a seat, this totals an income of £314,400.

Ms Reiff-Marganiec said: “As a tax-payer I am incensed that the council is willing to forego this income, while considering cutting services further and of course increasing bills for all.

However, Coun O’Shea added: “The scheme did serve a useful purpose in generating income with the majority of farepayers on buses intended for mainstream pupils, but recent Government regulations have insisted the vehicles need to be fully accessible, for example to wheelchair users.

"Like other councils, we believe the cost of adapting the buses so they fit the regulations would outweigh the income we receive from a relatively small number of farepayers, which was 15 last year."

Ms Reiff-Marganiec acknowledged only 15 seats were brought last year, but added this doesn't reflect a lack of interest, due to the pandemic.

“It is all very well blaming the pandemic for the financial position the council finds itself in, but finding that the council is willing to forego this stream of income shows that that is a rather convenient and superficial explanation.

“We subsidised the council service [by buying a seat for Isla last year], while lowering the carbon footprint by not adding another car journey, and lowering traffic around the school.”

She said: “Last year only 15 additional places were sold but this was at the height of a pandemic, this was when we didn’t know whether schools would be closed, or whether it would be advisable to share transport at the time.

“But all the previous years, there was quite a bit of demand and there is still demand. I know enough people wanting to purchase a seat from here, from Great Glen to my children’s high school that we could fill a taxi.”


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2021 9:32 am 
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Quote:
A freedom of information request revealed that 393 seats had been brought over the past five years. At £800 a seat, this totals an income of £314,400.

So would the taxi provider get any of Ms Arleta Reiff-Marganiec's £800, or would all the benefit simply go to the taxpayer?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2021 9:07 pm 
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Quote:
Last year, she was able to purchase Isla a seat in the same taxi as her son for £800. When she went to do the same for this academic year, she found the scheme had been cancelled.

Is the council a taxi/PH/PSV operator?

If not I'm quite sure the legality of such a venture is questionable.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2021 9:32 pm 
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Would insurance for vehicle be affected with that practice


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2021 10:52 pm 
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heathcote wrote:
Would insurance for vehicle be affected with that practice
No, the vehicle is used for carrying passengers for hire and reward, simple.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2021 10:56 pm 
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On a slight tangent when I was in the business, I had a school run round New Romney and the villages. 2 kids from one village, two from the middle of nowhere, and another 2 further on. One of the 2 kids from the same village left, so the council wanted a cut in the rate despite the milage being the same. I was getting about £45 for the job. They put the job out for tender, it went to a Folkestone operator some 20 miles away for £76. No dead mileage on my run either, just a mile or so from home. Stupid or what?

Oh, and the Folkestone cab was unreliable as he had to come from Folkestone twice a day. so uc for caring for the environment as well.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2021 7:29 am 
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Sussex wrote:
Quote:
Last year, she was able to purchase Isla a seat in the same taxi as her son for £800. When she went to do the same for this academic year, she found the scheme had been cancelled.

Is the council a taxi/PH/PSV operator?

If not I'm quite sure the legality of such a venture is questionable.

I think that lots of Councils do something similar. I know that in Leicestershire that pupils whose parents choose to send their children to a catholic faith school in Loughborough, from say Melton Mowbray, have to make a financial contribution towards the school transport (school bus) For this service because the school is out of catchment area.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:39 pm 
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Leicestershire also have a scheme whereby they will pay parents a mileage allowance to take their own children to school instead of using taxis. maybe this mother could look at asking about this so that she can get paid to take both of her children to school or save the Council the whole lot and take both children herself as she is already making the journey.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2021 5:03 pm 
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Does anyone remember the days when mums and dads actually took their own kids to school, rather than expect the state to deal with it?

Yes a number of seriously poorly kids need special assistance to get to and from school, but it seems that nowadays anyone with any isum expects the taxpayer to fund their school transport.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2021 6:39 am 
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Sussex wrote:
Does anyone remember the days when mums and dads actually took their own kids to school, rather than expect the state to deal with it?

Yes a number of seriously poorly kids need special assistance to get to and from school, but it seems that nowadays anyone with any isum expects the taxpayer to fund their school transport.

One of the reasons that the Council are refusing to allow the sibling in the car apart from it being against the policy maybe that is that if they did decide to allow it they will be worried that it may set a precedent and then there would be umpteen others demanding the same.

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