Parents fuming about crowded Wrexham school bus

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

CHILDREN are having to walk to school because there is no room on the bus.

The GHA coach, which takes pupils to St Joseph’s, St Mary’s and Bodhyfryd schools from Borras Park and Caia Park, has become so full that some children are being asked not to get on.

One angry mother, Joanne Fletcher, of Caia Park, says her 12-year-old son, Callum, who suffers from asthma, was one of a group of eight or nine unable to get on the bus yesterday and ended up having to walk the one-and-a-half miles to St Joseph’s.

She said: “Since the new term started a couple of weeks ago, it’s been a nightmare.

“Lots of children just can’t get on the bus and are having to walk to their schools.

“This happened to Callum yesterday morning, even though he and his friends set off earlier, at 8am, to try to get on the bus.

“As parents, we have to trust that our children are getting to school on time and safely.

“I don’t want to be constantly worried if he’s getting to and from school safely.

“He suffers with asthma, so what happens if he has an attack on the way to or from school and there is no-one to help?”

Callum’s mother says she is not in a position to take him to school herself as she has a four-year-old daughter, Aimee, to take to another school.

She also has another son, Louis, nine, who has special needs and has to wait with him until he gets picked up to go to his school by taxi.

She added: “I know a lot of other parents are worried about this.

“It is unfair as I pay £5 a week for Callum to use the service.

“We have phoned GHA coaches and they told us to contact the council.”

Charlie Williams, operations supervisor for GHA Coaches, based on Wrexham Industrial Estate, said: “This is an ongoing problem at the start of every new September term but it seems particularly acute this year.

“We operate the contract for this service on behalf of Wrexham Council and are contracted to provide a 77-seater double-decker.

“In view of the demand we are actually operating an 88-seater double-decker, which is over and above our contract requirement.

“This is running a full seating capacity and also has a number of standing passengers.

“Some children are attempting to get on the bus when it is at capacity and as the driver won’t allow this for safety reasons, they are being asked not to board.”

He added: “I appreciate the concerns of parents but I have got to back my driver 100 per cent in this.

“The council is aware of the problem and we are working with them and the schools to try to resolve the issue.”

John Bradbury, the council’s head of environment, said: “The council is aware of problems with capacity on the fare-paying bus from Acton and Caia Park to St Joseph’s High School.

“We are currently reviewing all of the fare-paying public transport services we support financially, to ensure we get best value for money.

“Wide consultation will take place over the next month or so and users of all services will have opportunity to give their views on how we should prioritise our
spend.

“In the meantime, we would remind parents that other options are available, via services 44 and 7/8.

“Parents can get more information on these services by contacting the busline on 01978 266166.”

See full story in the Leader

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