A new school bus service has been started in Suffolk charging nearly £900 for a five day ticket, sparking fears rural families can not afford the cost.

School transport firm Kura has begun operating service number 5 between Leiston and The One Sixth Form College in Ipswich.

However, East Suffolk councillor Julia Ewart, who represents Kelsale and Yoxford ward, said on Facebook she was concerned the five day ticket for the service, which operates in Zone 2, costs between £852.40 and £855.14 for the year.

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A four day ticket, meanwhile, is between £839.16 and £862.64, while for three days, the charge is between £825.98 and £872.74.

She said: "A student spends 90 mins each way in getting to the A-level provision offered by the local authority to students (who are not selected for Farlingaye High) and we want to charge rural families just shy of £900 a year to get there? Come on."

She added that a rural education should not come at any cost and the student's time on the bus 'was the cost'.

READ MORE: Leiston news

"Great that there’s a bus - but not at any cost," she added.

The bus picks up and drops off in Saxmundham, Wickham Market, Melton and Woodbridge along its route.

A spokesperson for the college, part of the Eastern Education Group, said the price of the services had been determined through a competitive tendering process that included parameters on pricing.

He said the cost of the new services was lower than the tariff charged by Suffolk County Council for post-16 travel, while the service had been set up to provide students in east Suffolk with more direct routes to the college, which has 2,000 students.

He added students could apply for bursaries to support their education.

The spokesman said; "We are offering a convenient, environmentally-friendly, flexible and cost-effective travel solution with a pay monthly option and real-time information.

"Our aim is to make this a cost effective and safe way to get to college.

"The Eastern Education Group of colleges offers bursaries (financial support) to parents/carers and students to help with travel costs for those that need it.

"If students or their parents, guardians or carers want to discuss any transport matters with One Sixth Form College, we have a dedicated support team who can arrange appointments on a one-to-one basis if required."

READ MORE: Suffolk news