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Parents across West Norfolk have hit out at changes to bus fares which they say have doubled  the cost of getting their children to and from school.

Families have said they were unaware of changes to fares on Norfolk Green buses, operated by Stagecoach Norfolk, until this week when schoolchildren returned from the Easter break.

Students arrived at their usual public bus stops expecting to pay the usual amount, but discovered the ‘huge hike’ when they got on the bus.

One South Wootton mum said the increase was double the previous amount she had paid for her daughter since September.

The mum paid £17 for a monthly saver ticket for the 11-year-old to catch the bus from the village to the King Edward VII Academy in King’s Lynn.

But, she said on Monday when her daughter went to pay, she was told the saver had been scrapped and it would now cost £8.50 a week  for the same journey.

The mum said she had expected a small increase from April 1 but said this was a huge hike which would affect a lot of people.

“The service is really vital transport to get the children to school and back,” she said.

Several other parents were up-in-arms over the increase and some have now decided to car-share while others have said their children would have to walk.

Another South Wootton mum labelled the increase as “extortionate” and said she would probably drive the school journey from September when her second daughter started KES.

Parents in areas such as Clenchwarton and Terrington St Clement have also been affected.

Andy Campbell, managing director of Stagecoach East, said changes had been made to mirror the fares that of other Stagecoach companies throughout the country.

New Zone tickets have been introduced, one which covers King’s Lynn and another for the wider area, said Mr Campbell, who added the company had “done away with individual route tickets”.

He said there were options available for passengers which included a term ticket, the £8.50 youth ticket and individual return fairs.

“What we have done is try to provide unlimited travel on these weekly tickets,” said Mr Campbell who added the company was also looking to introduce online discounts.

The cost of the term tickets are dependent on location and journey length and a Stagecoach spokesman said parents could contact customer services on 01553 776980 for more details or call into the King’s Lynn depot.