FURIOUS parents were left outraged as their children were left stranded at the side of the road on the first day of school.
Pupils across the county were left unable to get to school after being turned away by drivers from Strafford’s Coaches if they could not provide a bus pass.
Parents say their children have not been required to show their passes in the past and were not told about any change to procedure ahead of the new school year.
Others say they have not received a pass.
Schools affected included Ysgol Morgan Llwyd in Caia Park and St Joseph’s High School, Wrexham.
Some drivers were handing notes explaining the situation to pupils.
The note read: “Please ensure your drivers strictly enforce the no pass/no travel rule from day one and inform the student to ring us (Wrexham Council’s school transport office) if they have not got a pass.
“If any operator is unable to do this or to ensure changes made are enforced, then please let me know asap, and I will arrange to terminate and re-tender the contract for September.
"Your co-operation in these matters is much appreciated.”
But one parent said he was unable to get through to the council’s transport department to voice his concerns because it was engaged for more than an hour.
Darren Owens, 46, of Southsea, had to take his 13-year-old son Alex to school after he was not allowed to board the bus.
He said: “My son goes to St Joseph’s and for the last three years they have never needed to show their bus pass. He went to get on this morning and they wouldn’t let him.
"There should have been a bit of discretion today. It is just ridiculous from the council.
"I’m off work this week but if I wasn’t my son would have been stranded.
“I spoke to the bus company and they admitted they could lose the contract if they don’t enforce the passes.
“The worst thing is I tried to phone the transport department at the council from 8.45am until 10am and I couldn’t even leave a voicemail. It was just engaged.”
Kimberly Lewis, 47, of Gwersyllt, whose 14-year-old son Sam attends Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, had to take other children to school who were left at the bus stop.
She said: “My son gets the bus to school. It was just lucky I wasn’t working and I was able to pick up a few more children but I wonder how many were left stranded and unable to get to school.
“My son doesn’t have a bus pass, I didn’t know he had to have one.
“I am so annoyed, the lack of communication is totally unprofessional. This could have been totally avoided had the council issued a warning in time.
“When I arrived at school the one staff member knew nothing about this which alarmed me even more.
“The first day back at school is stressful enough without this happening.”
Anwen Jones, 37, of Ruabon, said her 13-year-old daughter, who attends Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, was not allowed to get on the bus yesterday morning.
She said: “I’m just thankful I wasn’t working this morning or my daughter probably would not have got to school.
“She was given a piece of paper saying ‘no pass/no travel’ and apparently the council emailed the school last week informing them of this but I don’t think that’s good enough notice. The school wouldn’t have been open for anyone to have seen that.
“Year 7s have not received their passes yet, so what would they have been meant to do?”
Strafford’s Coaches declined to comment.
A Wrexham Council spokesman said children from Ysgol Morgan Llwyd would be able to travel without passes for the remainder of the week as a “temporary measure”.
But they added the need for passes was due to previous issues with ineligible children using bus services, which may leave children with passes further along the route unable to board.
The spokesman said: “We are aware there have been some problems with pupils not having passes for travel to school this morning, notably at Ysgol Morgan Llwyd.
“As a temporary measure we are allowing Ysgol Morgan Llwyd children to travel without passes for the remainder of this week and we are working with the school to issue passes to children as soon as possible.
“We are also allowing children to return from some other schools where there are large numbers of pupils without passes this afternoon as a temporary measure.
“Parents need to apply for school transport and pupils will need to show their pass to the driver to board the bus to school.
“The need to have passes to travel is due to past cases of children who are not
eligible travelling without a pass, which may leave eligible children who are boarding later along the route unable to board the bus.
“We also need to have accurate records of who is actually travelling on school transport.”
The spokesman said information for parents of children new to secondary school was distributed in a pack sent out previously.
They added information about the need to apply for school transport and obtain a pass was highlighted through posters at “some public places” over the summer as well as through the council’s social media platforms.
Parents who need to apply for a pass can do so using the council’s website or by phoning the school transport office on 01978 292056.
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