Bus plea to coun­cil

Coun­cil un­der pres­sure af­ter Glas­gow’s free bus U-turn

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Niki Ten­nant

South La­nark­shire Coun­cil have been chal­lenged to scrap changes to free school bus pro­vi­sion af­ter Glas­gow City Coun­cil per­formed a dra­matic u- turn on the is­sue.

The coun­cil agreed at the last month to ex­tend the dis­tance at which sec­ondary pupils can get a bus from two miles to three.

South La­nark­shire Coun­cil have been chal­lenged to “take a leaf out of Glas­gow City’s book” and do a U-turn on their stance over the cri­te­ria for free bus travel.

Last week, Glas­gow City Coun­cil’s Labour ad­min­is­tra­tion backed down on their de­ci­sion to scrap free school buses for hun­dreds of chil­dren, which aimed to save it around £615,000.

Par­ents’ tire­less cam­paign­ing to high­light the im­pact of the pro­pos­als on their kids, who were ex­pected to use walk­ing routes they deemed un­safe, paid off.

Now sin­gle mum Jackie Rinn, of Half­way, is con­grat­u­lat­ing Glas­gow City Coun­cil and call­ing for South La­nark­shire to fol­low suit.

Jackie, who lives on Mill Road, is adamant she will keep daugh­ter Ash­ley (12) away from Stonelaw High un­less the coun­cil pro­vide trans­port.

Last month, coun­cil­lors agreed to ex­tend the dis­tance for sec­ondary kids to re­ceive free buses from two miles to three, although chil­dren en­ti­tled to free school meals will still be el­i­gi­ble.

Par­ents liv­ing in West­burn, Half­way, Over­ton, Cairns, Gil­bert­field and parts of Drum­sagard have all been left fum­ing at the plans.

Jackie (49) said: “Par­tic­u­larly ap­proach­ing win­ter, there is no way there is a safe way to walk - and there are ter­ri­to­rial is­sues up there.

“Glas­gow City Coun­cil did the right thing by chil­dren and I think South La­nark­shire should fol­low suit. Con­sul­ta­tion leaves a lot to be de­sired. Af­ter April, we are ex­pected to get our chil­dren to school. It is di­vid­ing com­mu­ni­ties,” hit out Jackie.

“I am a Labour sup­porter but I will not be vot­ing for them. They have been told this is­sue will af­fect them at ev­ery level. There have been a num­ber of crashes on so-called safe walk­ing routes. We have been fight­ing over this for eight months now. I am to­tally dis­gusted with South La­nark­shire Coun­cil and the Labour party.”

Jackie, who says it would take Ash­ley at least an hour to walk to school, added: “I am re­ally quite hurt that peo­ple I voted for per­son­ally are not in sup­port of their con­stituents. South La­nark­shire Coun­cil could find other ways to make sav­ings. They put on big func­tions for golden wed­ding an­niver­saries, and I’m sure grand­par­ents would rather see grand­kids get­ting to school safely.”

An online pe­ti­tion col­lected nearly 5000 sig­na­tures and 900 peo­ple have lodged ob­jec­tions.

John Edgar, chair of Half­way Com­mu­nity Coun­cil ques­tioned why Glas­gow City - who have a £100m deficit - can re­verse their de­ci­sion, yet SLC with a £30m short­fall can­not: “We are ask­ing South La­nark­shire Coun­cil to have a change of heart as well.

“Hope­fully, they will see sense and keep the buses on.”

Point­ing out that SLC has built 125 new schools with more in the pipeline, an adamant coun­cil leader Ed­die McAvoy said the buses de­ci­sion has been made and will not be back tracked.

“There is not £ 1mil­lion avail­able to re­verse that de­ci­sion,” he in­sisted. “There is no room for ma­noeu­vre. The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment made our de­ci­sion for us with a £3.5m cut in grant.”

Bus stop Par­ents and chil­dren have cam­paigned against the changes

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