Page last updated at 16:37 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 17:37 UK

Disabled students' bus pass woe

Jade Kerr
Jade Kerr says it is unfair she cannot use the pass to get to college

Lecturers and disabled students in Derby have criticised a new bus pass - because it cannot be used until after lessons have started.

Students with learning difficulties at Derby College have been encouraged to use public transport to help extend their life skills.

Since April a new bus pass launched by the government entitled eligible users to free off-peak travel on local buses.

Many of the college's disabled students have now resorted to using taxis.

The vice principal at Derby College, Steve Logan, confirmed about 130 students are affected.

Financial constraints

"It's a major problem for us," he said. "About two thirds of the learners that are on our independent travel training programme are considering withdrawing from that now and actually going back to a more expensive taxi service that is local authority funded."

Student Jade Kerr, 17, has dyslexia and mild autism and travels three hours a day to travel to college. She qualifies for a bus pass but cannot use it because her lessons start earlier than the pass allows.

She said because of her disabilities she will have to use a taxi to get her to and from college because she struggles with using money.

"I can't handle money if I have to pay for my own bus journey because it's too hard. I can't count my money out, so I won't be able to pay for it."

The government has said that local authorities can extend the hours if they wanted. But a spokesperson from Derby City Council said that the authority cannot afford to do that.




SEE ALSO
Disabled man loses free bus pass
03 Apr 08 |  Derbyshire

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