School Bus Service

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Hi all, apologies in advance if this is in the wrong forum, please direct me to where it might be better suited if needed.
My son goes to school on a bus service I pay for. My contract is with the bus company, not the school. Obviously, most children are not using the service (my son included), they are however offering a limited service to children of key workers. The bus company has emailed me to ask that I keep paying the bill, and if I choose not to "support the business" in this way, I will not be allowed to apply for a bus pass next year. 
We are unable to use the service, and the bus company are not offering the service, so I feel I should not have to pay for the service. The bus company disagrees, saying the amount payable is for the whole year, regardless of how many days the bus service is offered. 
Is there anything I can do to claim my money back? I don't know if something like the small claims court could apply here. The amount we're talking about is just over £100 a month. Thanks in advance for any help or advice offered.

Comments

  • [Deleted User]
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    At my school students who pay for bus passes (I’m not one of them, mine’s free) pay for an entire term upfront and no refunds are offered (not sure if it applies in the current circumstances). I suppose if you can afford it then maybe you should help them out and pay. If you cannot afford it then outline your circumstances to the bus company and fingers crossed 🤞🏻 they may show some forbearance. 
    The small claims court could be an option but will take time during the circumstances. Apologies for the disjointed response but it’s just what comes into my head as I type.
  • jaybeetoo
    jaybeetoo Posts: 1,338 Forumite
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    Although I signed up for a year, I have not had to pay for my son’s school bus this term as there is no service.

    i think your bus company is using you for an indefinite interest free loan.  Have you contacted other parents?  If you all refuse to pay then the bus company is stuffed - I can’t believe they won’t offer a school bus service when this is over.
  • mr_mf
    mr_mf Posts: 39 Forumite
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    edited 27 April 2020 at 10:21PM
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    I would be careful, the bus company probably won't be stuffed - there is a shortage of buses now that buses have to provide wheelchair access, even if none of the children need it.   We've had the same problem here and the bus company have terminated the contract, as parents refused to pay.
  • thriftyemma
    thriftyemma Posts: 335 Forumite
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    Thanks for all the comments so far. And thanks for the warning @mr_mf . This company is the only one operating in our area, and I would be stuffed if they withdrew the service. I think it's going to be a case of sucking it up. It hugely annoys me that so many small companies are struggling and are still offering refunds/credit etc to keep their customers happy, but this company wont. In fact, I've just received an email laying out their intentions to massively hike their prices next year. I'm truly between a rock and a hard place.
  • jbuchanangb
    jbuchanangb Posts: 1,330 Forumite
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    It is part of parental choice to place their children in school which is at a location where a bus is needed, which is not funded by the local authority. I think it is still the case that when the nearest suitable school for a child as defined by the local authority is beyond a certain distance from the child's home, then the local authority provides the transport.
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