‘School bus fee not fair’

Parents are upset that they are to lose free bus travel for children at Clowne Heritage School  (w120326-18)
Parents are upset that they are to lose free bus travel for children at Clowne Heritage School (w120326-18)

DOZENS of parents face paying school bus fares for their children after Derbyshire County Council re-measured the distance from Heritage High to Creswell.

Children who live within a three-mile radius of the Boughton Lane school could be charged £1.40 a day for a return journey - amounting to nearly £30 a month.

Creswell parents blasted plans claiming their kids face walking along low-lit, littered alleys, narrow pavements and busy roads if they can’t pay for the bus.

But the authority says the route doesn’t meet the criteria needed to be judged hazardous after a second assessment with parents on Monday afternoon.

Creswell mum Sandra Croft, from Skinner Street, accused the council of ‘bullying’ parents into paying the fee.

“This service has been here for us for the past 20 years, ever since they took the Creswell school away,” she said. “It’s all well and good doing the assessments in the summer but our kids will be walking along alleys in the dark, when its cold and in winter.”

“Parts of the route are disgusting. It’s not safe for kids to walk it alone.”

The route from the school gates in Clowne to Skinner Street takes ten minutes by bus, or over an hour to walk.

Dad-of-two Gareth Brown, 35, of Skinner Street, said the charge was ‘unfair’.

“If you’ve got two or three kids it could cost upwards of £4 a day - it’s shocking,” he said.

“There are families yards away from my house who are getting the service for free because they’re over three miles from the school.”

“The bus is still going along the same route, nothing’s changed apart from the fee - it’s completely unfair.”

More than 40 nearby parents accompanied council workers as they re-measured the route and assessed its dangers.

Mum-of-two Rachel Samson, 39, said: “My little girl will be walking it by herself when she comes up in a few years. It’s not a very nice thought.”

A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said: “On Monday, county councillors walked the route to assess whether it meets the criteria needed to be judged hazardous in relation to home to school transport. Following their recommendation that it does not meet the criteria, a report will be prepared which will be considered by the county council’s cabinet member for education shortly.”