Dangerous school bus route saved from cuts in Westerleigh
9:38am Tuesday 24th June 2014 in News By Alexandra Womack, senior reporter covering Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell, Rangeworthy, Wickwar, Hawkesbury, Iron Acton, Coalpit Heath and Old Sodbury
A SCHOOL bus service serving Yate and Chipping Sodbury schools via a dangerous stretch of road has been saved.
There had been plans to scrap the subsidised 967 school bus service, which serves pupils at Chipping Sodbury School and Brimsham Green School travelling from Westerleigh and Yate.
South Gloucestershire Council had earmarked the services for cuts after analysis suggested that the subsidy per passenger was too high.
But councillors on the authority’s planning, transport and strategic environment committee voted unanimously to save the bus.
Cllr Claire Young (Lib Dem, Westerleigh) said the service was a lifeline to parents who could not drive their children to school each day particularly as it stopped pupils from being forced to walk along a dangerous stretch of road.
“This is excellent news for all those local residents who fought to save this service,” she said.
“The 967 route covers a stretch of main road without any footpath.
“Many parents are not in a position to drive their children to school and there was considerable concern that cutting this service would have left some children in Westerleigh without a safe route to school.”
She added: “Encouraging the use of public transport from an early age is vital if we want to see fewer cars on the road in the future. There will be a lot of relief locally that the service has been saved.”
Other under-threat services have also been saved including early morning journeys on the 622 service, which runs from Chipping Sodbury to Thornbury and then onto Cribbs Causeway via a number of villages.
The 680 from Frampton Cotterell to Filton College and the University of the West of England’s Frenchay campus, the 963 Patchway to Winterbourne Academy have also been safeguarded and the 948 linking Pucklechurch with The Grange and Sir Bernard Lovell schools.
Cllr Matthew Riddle (Con, Severn) said: “The 622 is an important bus link for residents in Olveston, Tockington and Old Down to get to Thornbury, Cribbs Causeway and beyond.
“People from local villages along the route of the 622 wanting to travel to the new Southmead Hospital have to change to a different bus service at Cribbs Causeway, so if you remove early morning journeys, then you’re making it harder for people to access morning hospital appointments.”
Cllr Steve Reade (Con, Boyd Valley) said: “The main concerns which came back about withdrawing these school services were the increased isolation of communities, the lack of alternative options to get to school, a more restricted choice of schools due to a lack of accessibility and increased car use.
“The council needs to be doing more to promote the greater usage of bus services across the district so we can make services more viable.”
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