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Special-needs Bradford taxi bill rises to 3.2million

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Special-needs Bradford taxi bill rises to 3.2million

Post by Aftab on Tue 6 Jan 2009 - 4:04

By Will Kilner

Concerns have been raised about the soaring cost of providing taxis to transport special-needs pupils to their schools in Bradford.

The annual cost has increased by another 112,422 since March 21 and now stands at more than 3.2 million a year.

In the last nine months alone, the number of special-needs pupils requiring taxi or minibus transport in the Bradford district has increased by three per cent from 941 to 969.

To accommodate the extra numbers, the total number of contracts awarded to taxi and minibus operators has increased by 43 to a total of 478 contracts – a 9.9 per cent rise since march 2008.

A new report to go before Metro’s tendered services working group said: “There is concern that while taxi costs in other districts have been largely stable this is not the case in Bradford.

“This is the subject of ongoing discussions. Work is ongoing with Education Bradford to better manage the numbers of contract amendments and hence control costs more effectively.”

In neighbouring Calderdale, the number of special-needs pupils requiring taxi or minibus transport has gone down from 104 to 100 since March 2008.

Despite the 3.8 per cent reduction in pupil numbers, the cost has risen by 18,027 due to the number of contract changes that have taken place.

The cost of providing taxis and minibuses for special-needs pupils across West Yorkshire as a whole now stands at 12.3 million.

Metro, the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Auth-ority, has an agreement to share this cost with the local education authorities in the county’s five districts.

In Bradford, the LEA pays 82 per cent and Metro contributes 18 per cent.

Metro’s proportion of the overall annual cost is expected to rise by 132,513. This includes part payment of 100,000 for the conversion of Keighley & District vehicles to Mybus standards as part of the Ilkley Grammar School scheme.

The issue will be discussed by Metro’s tendered services working group at it next meeting on Wednesday.

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