Dad's campaign for daughter's bus fare refund

Ian Davies
Ian Davies

A father is calling for better promotion of the free school travel available to some pupils in the borough.

Ian Davies has secured a free bus pass for his daughter Lucy, 14, as their home in Haigh is more than three miles away from the nearest school.

But he says he only found out this was available last year, when Lucy was going into year nine at Standish High School.

He is now trying to get a reimbursement from Wigan Council for the hundreds of pounds he spent on bus fares for the previous two years.

However, this has so far been refused by the council and he is going through the complaints process.

Mr Davies, of Toddington Lane, said: “It’s money to which I feel I’m entitled. The only reason they are coming up with for not giving me the previous two years is they can’t make payments retrospectively.

“Lucy wasn’t assessed for the previous years so we can’t be paid, but we haven’t moved for eight years and the school hasn’t moved, so nothing has changed.

“We have struggled financially in recent years so £6.50 a week would have been a massive help when we needed it the most.”

Mr Davies said he did not know about free school travel until his wife was told about it by another parent in a school playground.

They looked into it and applied for a free bus pass for Lucy, which was provided by the council.

Mr Davies now wants more to be done to make parents aware that it is available.

“You have got open evenings for all the high schools in September,” he said.

“They are all happy to say what wonderful schools they are, it’s just one more line to say why don’t you check if you are entitled to free travel.”

The council provides free travel in certain circumstances, which includes when children live three miles or more from their nearest school.

Mr Davies believes many families in the Haigh and Aspull areas in particular could be entitled to free travel, due to the distance to the nearest schools.

Mr Davies said: “My understanding is there are a lot of people who should be entitled to it.”

He encouraged parents to go to the council’s website to find out more and contact its integrated transport unit to check if they are eligible.

Alan Lindsay, assistant director for education at the council, said: “Mr Davies submitted a formal complaint to us which was investigated. We understand that he is unhappy with our response and has requested that his complaint be escalated in accordance with the council’s complaints procedure.

“A further investigation is currently being undertaken and we have advised Mr Davies that he will receive a full response in the next couple of weeks.”