Peterborough parents warned of school transport disruption due to lack of drivers

Parents in Peterborough are being warned school transport services are facing disruption due to a lack of drivers.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 12:12 pm
Education news.

Peterborough City and Cambridgeshire County council’s Social & Education Transport Team (SETT), which undertakes all aspects of the day-to-day operations for transport to and from school or college, is currently experiencing unprecedented challenges securing operators for buses and taxis.

The team is asking parents to be patient as it works tirelessly to minimise the impact of driver shortages on school routes due to the unprecedented crisis taking place nationally.

Currently, both councils are able to fulfil all transport arrangements agreed before the start of the academic year, but this could change in the coming weeks.

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There are also delays for new arrangements due to a lack of bids from transport operators, many of whom are struggling through a shortage of drivers.

The councils are working on contingency plans should the problem escalate, including the potential for double runs on buses.

It is the council’s policy for transport to be provided for free for pupils travelling more than two miles to their designated primary school, or more than three miles to their designated secondary school. Many pupils with special educational needs, and children in care, are also eligible and require additional support, so need passenger assistants when travelling. However, operators are also having difficulties in recruiting assistants.

Cllr Lynne Ayres, cabinet member for children’s services, education, skills and the university at Peterborough City Council, said: “At present we are able to meet all our obligations as an authority and fulfil all transport arrangements.

“But we want parents to be aware that if the national problem does escalate this will have a knock-on effect, so it is only correct that we work on contingency planning to make sure no child’s education is impacted.”