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Norwich parents hit out at First buses after fare confusion leads to child fears

PUBLISHED: 15:00 03 November 2011

Lydia Escandon with her three children, from left, Ruby-Valentine, 3; Vincent, 21 months; and Winter, 4. Lydia is unhappy that she can only travel on First buses with one child under 5 free of charge, whereas the norm nationally is two under five's. Picture: Denise Bradley

Lydia Escandon with her three children, from left, Ruby-Valentine, 3; Vincent, 21 months; and Winter, 4. Lydia is unhappy that she can only travel on First buses with one child under 5 free of charge, whereas the norm nationally is two under five's. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant copyright 2011

A Norwich couple who feared they might have to pull their child out of school over bus cost fears have hit out at the company that they say has repeatedly misinformed them.

Lydia and Greg Escandon, of Burges Road, Mile Cross, claim they were treated aggressively by a First bus driver who told them they were only allowed one, rather than two, children per adult under five to travel free.

After complaining, they say they were then reassured by staff at the company’s Norwich headquarters that the two child policy was correct, as the couple previously thought.

However, this week they received a letter from First telling them that the one child policy prevailed – a statement that also turned out to be wrong.

Mrs Escandon, 28, said they were contemplating removing four-year-old Winter from the new Free School Norwich after the letter because they could not afford to take him.

She explained that this was because her husband’s shift work meant she had to take her other two young children with her on each journey to school.

Mrs Escandon said she was left in tears and made to feel like “a criminal” by her encounter with the bus driver.

She said: “How can anyone use public transport confidently if nobody knows what is going on? I don’t want to have to use them but I have no choice. It turns out I was right. I think when you get on a bus it should say clear as day in front of you what the policy is.”

A spokesman for First encouraged the couple to contact them and said: “The policy on all First bus services is to allow two children under the age of five and accompanied by an adult to be carried free at all times, providing they only occupy one seat at busy periods.”

Are you having bus problems? Contact John Owens on 01603 772439 or email john.owens@archant.co.uk.

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