Students over 16 will now be forced to pay for educational transport.

Conwy County Borough Council (CCBC) cabinet voted, during a meeting on Tuesday, in favour of charging for the previously free post 16 educational transport service.

Scrapping the free service entirely could have saved Conwy council £420,000 but cabinet voted the transport service would continue but with a fee of £80 a term.

Councillor Garffild Lloyd Lewis, cabinet member for education, said this charge was projected to bring in an income of £276,000.

He said: “It’s quite clear in the financial situation that we are in the moment that there is no choice but to introduce a certain amount of fee.”

His cabinet colleague, cllr Louise Emery, said it was ridiculous to have a free service that was not means tested.

Cllr Emery said: “At the moment, if my children were 16 they could go to college for free, it’s ridiculous that that system is in place and that it was never means tested in the first place.

"We have to provide a charge. I shouldn’t be able to get my children to go to college for free when I can afford those charges.

"The people from the lowest income families have the Education Maintenance Allowance to help them out.

"If you ask someone when they have been receiving something for free for years they are not going to say anything other than no to fees."

Currently 1,152 post-16 learners get free school transport under the council’s home to school transport policy -730 of which attend Coleg Llandrillo or other further education colleges; and 422 of the students attend sixth form provision in secondary schools in Conwy or other counties.

A public consultation was carried out over the summer into plans for the service, to which 442 members of the public responded.

Cllr Lloyd Lewis said there was charging in Gwynedd and there had been no barrier to those getting further education in that county.

But Deganwy, county councillor, Julie Fallon, said: “It’s easy to say that those who have free school meals and the rest of people can afford it but the reality is that isn’t the case for a lot of people out there.

"If you have two children going to post-16 education, it’s quite expensive.”

Councillors agreed to bring in charges but a further report be made on exempting those who are eligible for free school meals from the charges before a final decision is made.