SUBSIDISED bus travel for youngsters travelling to schools in Bolton from Edgworth and Belmont is set to be axed.

The move by Blackburn with Darwen Council means children living in the borough who go to schools in the Bolton area will now have to fund their own travel expenses.

Cllr Dave Harling, executive member for schools and education, said: “Due to the severe cuts in council funding, we had to change our policy on school transport for Year Seven students starting at high schools outside the borough in September.

“It means that if parents choose to send their child to a school outside Blackburn with Darwen, rather than their nearest one within the borough, then they will have to fund the transport to and from the school as we can no longer afford to subsidise such journeys.

“Free bus passes are still available for those children already at schools outside the borough until they leave in Year 11 because it would be unfair to change it now.”

The decision has been criticised by one councillor who said children travelling from Belmont must get two buses to get to school as there is no direct service.

The issue was raised at last month’s meeting of North Turton Parish Council, where one parent spoke of her concerns at the removal of the subsidy and a lack of consultation with parents.

North Turton and Tockholes councillor Colin Rigby said: “Kids in Belmont tend to go to Bolton schools. The nearest school within the borough is in Darwen and there is no direct bus service from Belmont to Darwen. I think they would have to go all the way to Astley Bridge and then get another bus. I think the council is being very selective here and it all seems a bit cheap.

“The council is being very niggly as it is only a small number of pupils affected.”