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Axed service angers mums

THE cancellation of a popular school bus route has angered parents in Monkspath whose kids will be left with no direct public transport to school from next term.

THE cancellation of a popular school bus route has angered parents in Monkspath whose kids will be left with no direct public transport to school from next term.

The council-funded 894 route, currently operated by Travel West Midlands, collects youngsters from Cheswick Green passing through Monkspath before reaching the Blossomfield campus schools.

Contract changes now mean the buses will only collect youngsters who live more than three miles away from their schools and are entitled to free travel.

As a result, new operators Claribels and Grosvenor Coaches will bypass Monks-path.

The news caused a stir among parents who believe the health and safety of their children has not been taken into account.

Sarah Hines, of Farnborough Drive, said the school bus had influenced her decision to choose Alderbrook School for her son, due to start in September.

"It was one of the reasons we accepted the school because we knew we could rely on a safe method of transport to get him to and from school. Two miles is too far for an 11-year-old child to walk and cope with busy traffic."

She said her only option was to drive her son to Alderbrook, but said if all parents did that, traffic on the roads would be "chaotic".

Sarah and two other mums, Maggie Jones and Claire Budhoo, have set up an email address for other parents to join in a campaign to save the service.

Maggie, a practise nurse, has one child at Alderbrook and one starting in September.

"The council cannot claim to be making a saving as we are paying customers. It does not make sense that they can turn down business from up 120 children paying £1.50 each a day."

Head teacher at Alderbrook School Bill Sedgwick said he "fully understand the concerns of the parents".

He said the school does actively promote youngsters to walk or cycle to school where appropriate, but believed the school bus to be a more "safe and reliable" method.

Solihull council will continue to provide free travel on buses 823, 822, 894 and 811 for pupils living in Dickens Heath, Hockley Heath and Cheswick Green who travel to Alderbrook, Tudor Grange and St Peters.

Councillor Ken Meeson, cabinet member for education, children and young people, said: "We legally have to provide free transport for pupils who live over three miles away, but we are going one step further and extending these new bus services to other pupils and members of the public who wish to pay to travel on them."

Anyone wishing to support Monkspath parents in a campaign to save the school bus can email bus4school@hotmail.co.uk. ..SUPL:

 

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