PARENTS whose children travel by bus to Prince Henry’s Grammar School are set to face increased costs.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has confirmed that current bus service arrangements for the Otley school are to end on February 24.

This is due to two bus companies, Connexions and Kilvington of Leeds, announcing that they intend to run services on a commercial basis. The change will mean that the school’s bus services will no longer be contracted or subsidised by the authority and as a result Mcard products such as MyDay and Under 19 Weekly and Monthly tickets will not be accepted from February 24.

Instead, Connexions and Kilvington of Leeds will be introducing single trip fares of £1.50 and weekly tickets costing £12, while £50 monthly tickets and £180 tickets for a term will also be available.

Prince Henry's Grammar School's Headteacher, Janet Sheriff, said: "The WYCA informed us of the proposed changes on Monday, January 6 and we understand that they have also informed parents directly, wherever possible.

"The information provided by the WYCA has been made available to all parents via our website.

"We share parents’ concerns regarding the increase in fares and the negative impact that this will have on our students.

"We are particularly concerned about the impact on student involvement in extra-curricular and enrichment activities that take part outside of school hours - such as sport, music, science and other clubs - as we understand the changes mean students will now have to purchase extra tickets if not travelling home at normal school times.

"We are communicating with WYCA and Leeds City Council in order to fully understand the extent of the impact and to request if the proposed changes can be reconsidered and the issues resolved."

Local councillors are also concerned. Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) said: “Whilst I appreciate that young people who currently get free transport will continue to have a free pass I am concerned about the financial pressures this will put on the parents/carers of those children who pay. By making the services commercial the operators will be able to charge a higher fare with, as far as I understand, prices rising by about two pounds a week. This would seem to be a simple cash-raising exercise.

“I have contacted WYCA Transport to express my concern and will be asking for them to pressurise the private bus companies to continue to charge at the current level.”

Councillor Barry Anderson (Con, Adel & Wharfedale) said: “I am very disappointed that the bus companies have chosen to change the way they run the service as it will mean extra expense for parents. At a time when we are trying to encourage people to make the change to public transport it doesn’t exactly fit with this aspiration.

“In this area Connexions provide the three main services that get the children to Prince Henry’s from Pool-in-Wharfedale, Arthington, Adel, Holt Park and Cookridge. The difference in fares will mean, if a parent has two or three children who use the bus to school, quite an increase over a month.

“I also have concerns as to how long the revised price structure is to be held for and how much notice parents have had. Unexpected additional costs are unwelcome at any time, but to get this information just after Christmas is a blow.” For more details visit