‘Bus ser­vice cuts putting my chil­dren’s lives at risk’

Hinckley Times - - NEWS -

A MUM says she fears for her chil­dren’s safety af­ter a school run bus was pulled from the timetable.

Par­ents say chil­dren are be­ing left at bus stops or forced to sit on stairs and stand in door­ways af­ter a bus on the Ar­riva 84 route was scrapped.

Changes have been made to the timetable, in­clud­ing pulling one of the buses that takes pupils to Lut­ter­worth Col­lege and Lut­ter­worth High School from vil­lages in­clud­ing Cosby and Broughton Ast­ley.

Ac­cord­ing to reg­u­lar users, by the time the packed bus reaches the end of its route, driv­ers are leav­ing pas­sen­gers at the stop be­cause there is no more room on board.

Amy Ma­son’s two daugh­ters at Lut­ter­worth Col­lege, Poppy, 15, and Emma, 12, both buy a weekly ticket cost­ing £11.50 each.

Amy said: “The bus drove past both of my girls on the first day of the new timetable mean­ing they were both late for school.

“They man­aged to get on the bus on Tues­day but were squashed in the door well. If that bus has an ac­ci­dent my kids are dead.

“They counted 30-plus peo­ple stand­ing and kids were sat all the way up the stairs.

“Un­til re­cently, there were three buses they could catch, two specif­i­cally for schools and one pub­lic bus, then they took one of the school ones away last sum­mer. Now they’re tak­ing the other.

“All of those buses were full so that means three buses worth of peo­ple try­ing to get on to one bus.” Par­ents have been com­plain­ing to Ar­riva about the change to the timetable and lob­by­ing them into re­in­stat­ing the bus. Amy said she’d been told by an Ar­riva em­ployee that the com­pany has never re­ceived so many com­plaints but the ser­vice wasn’t fi­nan­cially vi­able. She said: “We pay al­most £500 a year for this ser­vice. Some par­ents have bought their kids monthly passes, oth­ers an­nual ones, they paid out £410 at the start of the school year for a ser­vice that ex­isted and now it’s gone. How can they take it away say­ing it’s not fi­nan­cially vi­able when peo­ple have al­ready paid for it?”

Par­ents post­ing on Face­book also com­plained that chil­dren had been given de­ten­tions for be­ing late and that buses are reg­u­larly late.

Amy said: “The school say it is par­ents’ re­spon­si­bil­ity to get their chil­dren to school. At the start of the term there was a bus that meant we could. Now that’s been taken away.”

An Ar­riva spokesper­son said: “Changes were made to morn­ing ser­vices on routes 84 be­tween Blaby and Lut­ter­worth at the start of the au­tumn term to bet­ter match the tim­ings of the school day fol­low­ing feed­back from lo­cal par­ents.

“A fur­ther up­date has now been im­ple­mented, re­mov­ing the jour­ney which would have com­menced at 6.55am from Blaby, call­ing at Whet­stone, Cosby and Broughton Ast­ley be­fore ar­riv­ing at the Lut­ter­worth ter­mi­nus at 7.44am; this jour­ney ar­rived nearly an hour be­fore the start of the school day at 8.40am.

“Un­der the re­vised tim­ings, we have buses on route 84 ar­riv­ing in Lut­ter­worth at 8.17am and 8.27am, plus cus­tomers trav­el­ling from Broughton Ast­ley have the ad­di­tional op­tion of catch­ing the X84 at 7.40am, ar­riv­ing in Lut­ter­worth at 8am.

“All of these ser­vices drop off out­side Lut­ter­worth Col­lege on Greenacres Drive or Bitteswell Road, and on Coven­try Road for Lut­ter­worth High School in plenty of time for pupils to promptly make regis­tra­tion.

“With re­gards to ca­pac­ity on board our ser­vices, we now op­er­ate three dou­ble decker buses to Lut­ter­worth both at the start and the end of the school day to en­sure all pupils wish­ing to travel by bus are catered for.’’

The Mer­cury asked Lut­ter­worth Col­lege for a com­ment but a re­sponse was not re­ceived be­fore pub­li­ca­tion.

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