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Maida Vale mother ‘losing sleep’ over TfL plans to end free bus travel for children

PUBLISHED: 12:53 03 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:09 03 August 2020

The bus fee changes are part of TfL's bailout deal from the government. Picture: Richmond Council

The bus fee changes are part of TfL's bailout deal from the government. Picture: Richmond Council

Archant

A Maida Vale mother is worried she won’t be able to make ends meet when free bus travel for children ends.

Cash-strapped Transport for London is due to cut the free pass for children in September as it faces an estimated £5bn loss due to the coronavirus crisis.

Lisa, a mother-of-three who lives in a Maida Vale council flat, said: “I’ve been losing sleep over worrying about the extra fares and safety issues for my children and other children in the same situation.”

Lisa signed a Child Poverty Action Group petition – Don’t Zap the Zip – calling for the government to scrap the plans. It currently has 197,000 signatures (as of August 3).

Lisa, not her real name, said: “It will impact everybody- if they want to go out on day trips or seeing their friends at the weekend which could be hard for people to afford.”

The mother-of-three qualified as a prescribing optician and has been doing locum work for the last few weeks.

She said: “I am trying to work really hard for the future to give my boys a better life.”

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Many families are facing an uncertain future as full-time jobs dry up during the pandemic.

Lisa said she was bringing home around £15,000 after tax and it means there is little to spare after all the bills are paid.

She has to pay for after school club for her youngest son, aged ten, as she is unable to meet him straight from school because of her working hours.

Lisa said she was also concerned for her children’s safety and the risks they could face from gangs if they have to walk through different postcodes.

“My youngest would have to go through back roads to get to the main road for a bus,” she said.

His journey to school would take an estimated hour-and-a-half by foot, or 30 minutes by bus. Her middle child has a 20-minute walk to school.

“I want to give them independence but I want them to be safe,” she said.

Visit the petition here.


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