A GROUP of York mothers have said it is "disappointing" that their children's primary school has started charging for its walking bus service.

A 'walking bus' service is a way for children from the same area to walk to school in a safe and supervised way.

Woodthorpe Primary School has run the service for free for several years, but is now introducing a charge of £1 per child per day.

One of the mums, Emma Power, has two sets of twins. The older set attend the school, and the younger will soon be starting there. The new charge means that when Emma's younger twins start she would have to pay £4 per day, or £20 per week.

Ms Power said: "My friend has four children, another lady has two and is heavily pregnant, and another lady has two children.

"You can imagine this is a lot of money accumulating at the end of the month. I feel that this is a big change. It only happened in the morning but it did help a lot."

James McGann, head master at Woodthorpe, said: "Historically the service was funded through a grant which ran out a few years ago.

"All school budgets have been squeezed over the last few years, so we're unable to keep offering the service for free.

"We wanted to set a minimal charge to cover costs, not to make a profit. It's a good service, we want to be able to provide it, however we need the manpower within the school."

With the charges being introduced the parents are making other arrangements to walk their children to school. According to Ms Power, the journey takes around 40 minutes. She said: "It is quite a walk."

Mr McGann said he would consider offering subsidies to families with several children and that if there was enough interest they may be able to discuss a compromise service.