School buses ‘un­ac­cept­able’

Com­plaints over changes to ser­vice

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Jo-anne Rowney and Laura Mowat buck­snews@trin­i­tysouth.co.uk

STU­DENTS start­ing the new term were still wait­ing for travel passes while par­ents com­plained about late buses.

Bucks County Coun­cil ad­mit­ted some chil­dren are still wait­ing for their passes de­spite the term hav­ing started.

The coun­cil said there has been in­creas­ing pres­sure on home to school trans­port, but changes, in­clud­ing the new timetable, have saved it mil­lions of pounds. The bud­get for home to school trans­port in Buck­ing­hamshire has been re­duced from £16mil­lion to £11m.

For those with­out them, bus firm Amey has agreed to ac­cept email au­tho­ri­sa­tion they ar­rive.

un­til

Amey con­firmed who had a place on a bus and said passes and fi­nalised timeta­bles would be re­ceived in the last week of Au­gust.

How­ever, there was a de­lay with it send­ing out the fi­nal batch.

Par­ent Tracy Hoekema has triplets get­ting the 8.14am bus, which is the for­mer 7.59am, from Knotty Green to Royal Gram­mar School.

She said: “The bus was late by 15 min­utes. Two of my boys hadn’t got their passes yet but had let­ters. The bus driv­ers let those with passes on first and said he didn’t know about the let­ter.

“This is un­ac­cept­able. Any de­lays and the chil­dren are late for school.

“We pay for a ser­vice. No one knows why they have changed the times ei­ther.”

Cab­i­net

mem­ber

for ed­u­ca­tion Mike Ap­p­le­yard said: “We are charg­ing more and I hated do­ing it but we needed to re­duce our costs.

“It is not clever to send two buses to dif­fer­ent vil­lages – it makes sense to have one bus to go to the same vil­lages.

“The big ques­tion is, can we con­tinue the jour­ney time?

“If we re­duce the num­ber of buses then we will have fewer driv­ers. Hope­fully we can train them and then they will be bet­ter driv­ers.

“We have got to im­prove our ser­vice and keep peo­ple in­formed – we failed to do that this time.”

The county coun­cil has a le­gal duty to trans­port chil­dren to school for free if they live more than three miles away and at­tend their near­est school, or when it is not safe for them to walk to school, or for spe­cial needs chil­dren. A MEMO­RIAL hall is set to be much warmer this win­ter thanks to a lot­tery grant.

The hall, in School Lane, Chal­font St Giles, is a popular venue for vil­lage groups and Chal­font St Giles In­fant School holds its lunches there.

It was given £10,000 from The Big Lot­tery Fund’s Awards for All scheme, which funded in­su­la­tion work on Thurs­day, Au­gust 28, as part of an en­er­gysav­ing project.

The hall was built in 1925 as a trib­ute to men from the vil­lage who died in the First World War.

Chair­man of the hall’s trus­tees Tony Hoare says it is a fit­ting project to com­plete this year, which is the cen­te­nary of the start of the war.

He said: “We were de­lighted that the Big Lot­tery Fund was able to support this project in such a sub­stan­tial way. As with most in­su­la­tion work there is lit­tle to see, but hope­fully the hall will con­tinue to be a warm and com­fort­able venue.”

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