Author Topic: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut  (Read 5195 times)

Offline Suzy Scott

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Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« on: September 08, 2011, 05:25:48 PM »
Pupils left to walk after bus service cut


Donna Goddard (left) with other mums who live on base at Bassingbourn Barracks are unhappy with cuts to their children's school bus service.

Louise McEvoy
Thursday, September 8, 2011
10:38 AM


Children living at Bassingbourn Barracks must now walk almost two miles to Bassingbourn Community Primary School, worried mother Donna Goddard told the Crow after Cambridgeshire County Council decided to cut the route from its bus service provision.

“They have done it for years, so I don’t know why they are changing it now,” she said.

“Most of the wives here don’t drive.

“I have got three children – one in Year Three, one in Year Four and a two-and-a-half-year-old.

“I have to take the youngest with me, which means he walks about eight miles a day.”

Mrs Goddard said a number of women at the barracks are in a similar situation, with children under school age, and about 40 children at the barracks used to use the bus.

She suggested the decision to axe the bus service was a cost-cutting measure by the council.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said the service taking children from the barracks to the school was reviewed as part of an ongoing review of school bus routes across the county.

“The route has been surveyed and a full risk assessment carried out and it meets the legal definition of a safe walking route to school,” he explained.

“The parents of youngsters who used the bus provision were notified of our intention during the last school year and given their right of appeal.

“Their challenge to the decision was turned down by the Appeals Committee in May.

“For a small number of pupils - those living in Cardiff Place - transport will continue, as crossing of the A1198 does not meet the criteria as an available walking route to school.”
Suzy Scott
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Offline TonyMaxwell

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Re: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2011, 06:32:02 PM »
Disgusting. Obviously there are no Cambridge Councillors living at Bassingbourn Barracks
Cheers,

Tony

Offline alex397

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Re: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2011, 07:59:58 PM »
I thought the government and local councils were trying to get people out of their cars and on to public transport??? This is doing the opposite. This will encourage parents to drive their children to school, and may even encourage some of the parents to buy a car so they can take their kids to school.

Offline alanv

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Re: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2011, 10:28:42 PM »
I thought the government and local councils were trying to get people out of their cars and on to public transport??? This is doing the opposite. This will encourage parents to drive their children to school, and may even encourage some of the parents to buy a car so they can take their kids to school.

It also makes a mockery of  the justification of building "affordable houses for families " in villages with no  primary school.

Offline AndrewHA

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Re: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2011, 08:38:52 AM »
Yes ,but " affordable housing for families " sounds good in the run up to an election .
Andrew HA.

Offline busman

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Re: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2011, 09:45:30 AM »
Got a feeling the houses in Cardiff Place were sold off by the MOD some years ago while the ones within the barracks are still owned by the army. I wonder if that might have something to do with it?
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Offline TCD813

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Re: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2011, 07:29:35 PM »
Pupils left to walk after bus service cut


Donna Goddard (left) with other mums who live on base at Bassingbourn Barracks are unhappy with cuts to their children's school bus service.

Louise McEvoy
Thursday, September 8, 2011
10:38 AM


Children living at Bassingbourn Barracks must now walk almost two miles to Bassingbourn Community Primary School, worried mother Donna Goddard told the Crow after Cambridgeshire County Council decided to cut the route from its bus service provision...

Thanks for that posting.

I've tracked down the Royston Crow article and forwarded the link to the head and deputies at the primary school.

I subsequently sent details of the Shefford & District Bus Association which might be useful as a 'template' for how parents could set up their own transport.

The sensible thing would be if the County Council could chip in to a parents' bus with the amount which they spend on the stand-alone service to Cardiff Place (east of A1198, so not considered a 'safe route' for tiddley-tots as they'd get ploughed down crossing a 60 mph road).

I'd be delighted to hear form anyone with any experience of similar situations — and particularly of jointly-funded buses — especially from those with political &/or operational experience/expertise.

Thanks,

Richard
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Offline Suzy Scott

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Re: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2011, 08:26:08 PM »
At Woottens & Tiger Line, we went from a group of interested parents (paying outside the system) who lived in Berkhamsted but sent their kids to Chesham Grammar School. There were at least 130 kids who travelled back and forth each day, which was previously informally lift-shared. Would that be of interest? PM me directly and I can try to speak to the co-ordinator if you like.
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Offline TCD813

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Re: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2011, 06:59:49 PM »
Thanks, Suzy.

And best wishes with the timetable publishing venture!
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
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Offline barryb

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Re: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2011, 12:46:37 PM »
Maybe I'm harsh, but having looked at a map, it doesn't seem that excessive to me.  In fact, it looks to me like the exercise would be good for them.  I had no trouble walking a similar distance from home to shops before I started school.

Offline TonyMaxwell

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Re: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2011, 02:04:15 PM »
Maybe I'm harsh, but having looked at a map, it doesn't seem that excessive to me.  In fact, it looks to me like the exercise would be good for them.  I had no trouble walking a similar distance from home to shops before I started school.

I think the point has been missed here.  I think the ages of the children involved precludes them walking that distance without supervision.  Also, if the weather were inclement, would it be right to have them sitting in a classroom wearing damp shoes and clothes.  There is also the fact that parents themselves, who have children not yet at school have to take their children to school in the morning, while pushing prams/pushchairs and still have to make the return journey.  This they will have to do at least twice a day.  As it takes a normal person walking at an average pace at least an hour to walk 4 miles, it would take a person pushing a pram, or even walking with a child quite a bit longer. 
Also, the roads will be a lot busier now than they were when you attended school Barry.  The potential for a serious accident should be given thought by the local authority. 
Does anyone know if the route thas a footpath for the whole distance?  As it's in a rural area I very much doubt it.






Cheers,

Tony

Offline TCD813

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Re: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2011, 06:02:08 PM »
Maybe I'm harsh, but having looked at a map, it doesn't seem that excessive to me.  In fact, it looks to me like the exercise would be good for them.  I had no trouble walking a similar distance from home to shops before I started school.

I think the point has been missed here.  I think the ages of the children involved precludes them walking that distance without supervision.  Also, if the weather were inclement, would it be right to have them sitting in a classroom wearing damp shoes and clothes.  There is also the fact that parents themselves, who have children not yet at school have to take their children to school in the morning, while pushing prams/pushchairs and still have to make the return journey.  This they will have to do at least twice a day.  As it takes a normal person walking at an average pace at least an hour to walk 4 miles, it would take a person pushing a pram, or even walking with a child quite a bit longer.  
Also, the roads will be a lot busier now than they were when you attended school, Barry.  The potential for a serious accident should be given thought by the local authority.  
Does anyone know if the route has a footpath for the whole distance?  As it's in a rural area I very much doubt it.

Good points from both of you.

As a child of six I'd walk the 2/3 mile journey to/from my primary school in Bradford four times a day, unaccompanied (Like most children, I came home for dinner.) so I'm in sympathy with what you say, Barry. Sometimes I took the trolleybus most of the way to school. I never caught it home as this would've meant crossing a main road, twice.

If my Mum came to collect me that wasn't too much of a problem for her as she was a 1950s housewife and I was an only child.

The Bassingbourn problem problem is not one of footpaths, Tony; it's more complex. The route is 'safe' in that sense. If you look at the Google map for Bassingbourn, and especially if you drag the little yellow-fellow on to the A1198 or The Causeway you'll see a good footpath, separated from the carriageway by a grass verge. Transport will still be provided for children living in Cardiff Place on the east of the A1198 as this would involve crossing a 60 mph road.

If you look at the Royston Crow article 'Pupils left to walk after bus service cut' Donna Goddard makes the point that, for mothers with pre-school children and no car, there are eight miles to be walked daily (two, 2-mile-out, 2-mile-back journeys per school day). Exercise is good, Barry but eight miles daily for a three-year-old, wind and shine?

Of course for those with a (2nd?) car, that's eight miles of car use per day, incorporating a right-turn from Bassingbourn Barracks onto a 60 mph road. There is the attendant increase in traffic and the pressure on short-term parking around the school. The length of the High Street between the Bassingbourn, The Limes bus stop and Bassingbourn, South End bus stop (For some reason Google Maps labels this part of High Street as 'Limes Close'!) virtually always has parked vehicles on the northern side. It is difficult to negotiate at any time of a weekday but especially in the half-hour before the start and in the half-hour after the end of the school day. Vehicles frequently mount the pavements to squeeze past, endangering pedestrians. I could go on.

It's here where the increased accident risk is strongest, I feel, Tony.

Moreover, there is a question of how the 2-mile limit (Cambridgeshire Free transport to school Who is eligible?) is calculated. Is it from the Bassingbourn Barracks gates? Is it from the individual houses?

Furthermore, the whole thing seems nuts financially, in view of transport still being provided for children living in Cardiff Place. I query how much money will be saved.

And it's hardly likely to help cut carbon emissions.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2011, 06:04:26 PM by TCD813 »
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
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Offline barryb

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Re: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2011, 10:11:23 PM »
Oh well - I probably am harsh then.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland and certainly learnt not to be scared of rain.  

I think I was accompanied to and from school for a couple of days, and to school for the first week.  I was only met at school if we were going somewhere different to home afterwards.

In primary 5 there was a period where I moved school a long time after we moved house, and the journey involved a half spin round the Glasgow underground, an hour on a train, and a half hour walk.  I imagine that would make people have kittens nowadays, and it may be why I seem to be more confident with individual travel around foreign countries than a lot of other people would be comfortable with.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2011, 10:13:49 PM by barryb »

Offline TonyMaxwell

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Re: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2011, 04:39:41 AM »
I was brought up in the west of Scotland and certainly learnt not to be scared of rain. 
Although being Scots I started school in Lancashire and after my first day at school was expected to make my own way there.  Living on a bus-route, I was not allowed to use the bus, but had to walk the 1.5 miles there and back 4 times a day. 
I was only at school in Lancashire for perhaps 6 months when I moved back to Scotland and a change of school and again after the first day made my own way.  This journey wasn't as far and I had kids my own age to go with.  We had only a 1/4 mile to travel but it would take us at least 15 minutes - we never rushed to school but couldn't get home quick enough afterwards.
From memory, I can't remember many children being taken to school by parents in those far of days.  It was war-time, so I suppose with fathers being in the forces, and many mothers having to work, it was left to the older siblings to take the younger children to school, even on the first day.
I must have been about 11 when I made my first solo journey from Dundee to Manchester by train.  There used to be a through journey leaving Dundee around 8am in those days.  By the time I was 14, I was doing the journey by coach which meant having to change in Glasgow.  By the time I was 15 I was doing the journey by bike, staying in Youth Hostels on the way.  I did that every year until I was called-up to do my National Service.
I think we Scots were taught to be more self-reliant than our English contemporaries.
Cheers,

Tony

Offline dwarfer1979

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Re: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2011, 08:31:35 AM »
I was brought up in the west of Scotland and certainly learnt not to be scared of rain. 
I must have been about 11 when I made my first solo journey from Dundee to Manchester by train.  There used to be a through journey leaving Dundee around 8am in those days.  By the time I was 14, I was doing the journey by coach which meant having to change in Glasgow.  By the time I was 15 I was doing the journey by bike, staying in Youth Hostels on the way.  I did that every year until I was called-up to do my National Service.
I think we Scots were taught to be more self-reliant than our English contemporaries.
I don't think it is a case of where you were bought up but a generational issue.  The travels of your youth don't sound a great deal more adventurous than those of my Dad (born & raised in West London) who would only be a few years younger than yourself.  Early teenage day trips from London to Manchester or Leeds (overnight coach up, day in the city, overnight coach back) & cycling tours of the bus depots of the West Country weren't unusual & unaccompanied day trips out around the London Transport around 12 or 13.  In comparison, despite my parents breeding a degree of self-reliance and allowing us kids more freedom than most of our friends, my first unaccompanied bus trip was at age 15 (and I thought I was being very adventurous reaching Salisbury & Southampton from Aldershot) and I doubt that my parents would have been happy letting us disappear to London unaccompanied at that age let alone Manchester or Leeds.  Times have changed (and in this case not necessarilly for the best) and it is a combination of real concerns (more & faster traffic etc) & the imagined higher risk of crime that is probably no worse than it ever was just more reported in the press.

Offline barryb

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Re: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2011, 01:22:38 PM »
Yes - I think it's a generational issue rather than anything else.

I spend a lot of my holidays in Estonia, where it surprised me that in rural areas children hitch hike between villages as a matter of routine.  The paranoia obviously hasn't bitten there yet.  It's amazingly counter productive that I wouldn't pick any of them up because of the way it feels odd to us, which the effect that they... have to stand there longer.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 01:27:49 PM by barryb »

Offline TCD813

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Re: Pupils left to walk after bus service cut
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2011, 04:06:29 PM »
If parents of six-year-olds let their kids walk to school unaccompanied today, the school would want signed authority to release them from school alone, the social services might be around asking searching questions about parental responsibility and the other parents would be looking askance.

What is good about Bassingbourn, however, is the fact that the primary school and the village college are adjacent. Older siblings frequently accompany younger ones walking to school. Additionally the upper primary aged pupils often walk together without parents.

The major change in the danger to children in these situations vis-à-vis our youth is the increase in road traffic, particularly private cars.

So, counterintuitively, the effect of the bus withdrawal could be fewer children walking, not more.
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
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