PARENTS of Chobham children who go to Collingwood College are alarmed at the cost of their school bus rising by £3 to £13 a week.

The increase has been imposed following the appointment of a new contractor to take pupils to the Camberley secondary school.

Diamond Bus South East gave up the contract in March, saying it was no longer viable.

The service from Chobham to Collingwood, Route 87, is now being operated by Stagecoach, with the bus picking up pupils at Lightwater during a journey that takes a total of 40 minutes.

The fare increase has upset parents who have to pay for the trip while there is no charge for pupils who live nearer Collingwood, including Lightwater and Windlesham. They qualify for free passes because their school is more than three miles away and if it was their first choice.

Chobham parents have been told that Surrey County Council will provide free passes only if their children go to a nearer school such as Jubilee High at Addlestone or Bishop David Brown in Sheerwater.

Single parent Gemma Bull’s daughter started at Collingwood in 2021, when it was her second choice of secondary school. Gemma, a teaching assistant at St Lawrence Primary School in Chobham, appealed unsuccessfully to receive free transport.

She said this week: “The fight for fairness still continues. Thanks go to the councillors that have now raised the issue at a county level and continue to raise questions.

“Thankfully, the issue of our children’s safety and the use of airport shuttle busses on the route by Diamond has been resolved. Now we need to resolve the issue of the cost of the service and the fairness of the eligibility criteria for free transport to school.”

Liberal Democrats Amy Moqbel and Emma Kennedy pledged to campaign for fairer treatment for Chobham families applying for secondary places when they stood in the recent local elections.

“Now that we have been voted back on to the parish council we are keen to see that Chobham children are not disadvantaged,” said Cllr Moqbel. “The rise in the bus fare from £10 a week to £13 is piling financial pressure on to already stretched families.”