ANGRY parents have blasted council transport chiefs after their children’s school bus was axed – adding almost an hour to their daily journey.
From September, instead of using a direct school bus from Eye to Arthur Mellows Village College in Glinton, 47 Year 11 pupils will face a more gruelling trip to school on a public bus travelling via the Queensgate Bus Station to get to their lessons.
Peterborough City Council says the move will save it £20,000 a year but parents are calling for the school bus to be reinstated.
Teresa Murphy, of Westminster Gardens, Eye, said her daughter, who has only just turned 15, would be left exhausted by the longer journey.
She said: “I have another child at a different school so it was good to know my daughter was safe on the school bus but now she is going to be hanging around in the dark come the winter, which is just not safe.”
Another parent of a 15-year-old girl said she feared for her daughter’s health and safety on a public bus, which have no seatbelts.
She said: “The council claims every child matters but with the nights getting darker I am worried about her getting home safely.
“She also used to know the drivers on the school coach but now she is going to have to get up at half past six to get to school earlier, when it doesn’t even open until 8.45am.”
Kevin Rayner asked how his daughter Chloe was expected to carry GCSE folders, an art folder, cooking ingredients, clarinet, saxophone, PE kit and possibly stand all the way.
The parents have been backed by ward councillors David Sanders and Ray Dobbs, with Cllr Sanders saying the decision was “a disgrace”.
He said: “They have just bulldozed this decision through with no consultation with the parents whatsover.”
But Cathy Summers, the council’s passenger transport contracts and planning team manager, said the decision had been made because of the success they had last year using public buses to ferry Year 12 students from Eye to the college.
She said: “We have decided that from the start of the new term, we will be withdrawing one of the contracted buses that we provide to transport pupils from Eye to Glinton.
“Instead we will provide 47 Year 11 students with Megariders to use the same Stagecoach bus service as the Year 12 students, with a second vehicle operating to provide additional capacity.
“The new route for Year 11 students will mean a half-hour earlier start in the morning and a journey to school which will take about 15 minutes longer.
“The bus home will leave school at the same time and take about five minutes longer to reach Eye.
“Year 11 students will also have the added benefit of being able to use their Megariders at any time during the week and weekends during term time on Stagecoach’s Citi network in Peterborough.”
The council currently transports around 250 children from Eye to the college in Glinton.
Peterborough City Council comment
CURRENTLY Peterborough City Council transport about 250 children from Eye to Arthur Mellows Village College.
Cathy Summers, the city council’s passenger transport contracts and planning team manager, said: “Previously year 7 to 11 students were taken on contracted buses that travelled directly from Eye to school and year 12 students (sixth-formers) travelled on a Stagecoach bus that stopped at Queensgate Bus Station as part of it’s normal journey.
“These sixth-formers were provided with Megariders for this purpose, which they could also use at any time during the week and weekends during term time.
“The council has a growing reputation as the UK’s environment capital and as part of our commitment to reducing our impact on the environment wherever possible we transport children to school by public transport.”