Alternative transport now found for many school children left stranded by The Green Bus - The Leamington Observer

Alternative transport now found for many school children left stranded by The Green Bus

Leamington Editorial 5th Sep, 2023   0

ALTERNATIVE transport has been found for many school children in south Warwickshire left stranded by the withdrawal of The Green Bus Service.

Council chiefs said they had been working tirelessly to find alternative transport options so young people could get to school for the new term.

Warwickshire County Council initially announced they would only be able to assist families whose children were eligible for free transport.

But they have now confirmed that buses have been found for a number of children who have to pay as well, thanks to another local bus operator stepping in.

Parents were informed last month that The Green Bus, which was scheduled to transport pupils returning to schools this week in and around Alcester and Stratford areas, had withdrawn the service due to financial pressures.

Hundreds of families were left panicking about how they would get to school.

The Green Bus Service said it had been close to finding a replacement provider but they had since withdrawn interest.

Parents who had paid for the upcoming school year would be refunded, they added.

In the letter to parents, Green Bus chief executive Ian Mack said the decision had been made because the costs of providing the service now exceeded the income they received.

He explained he had had to let staff go which was was “one of the most difficult things I have done” and continued: “Sadly, it is simply unsustainable for small operators to survive in the rapidly-declining marketplace for local bus services.”

WCC has found alternative transport for all 52 pupils eligible for school transport.

In addition, to support those families who have paid The Green Bus for school transport, WCC is working with a range of local bus and train operators, including Ridleys who have stepped in and found capacity within their existing routes.

As well as existing services, Ridleys will be releasing two additional routes out of south Birmingham which will provide for many of the children.

Families who are still looking to find alternative arrangements are advised to look at the Ridleys facebook page for the latest availability.

WCC transport spokesperson Coun Jan Matecki said: “The county council has been working flat out since we received information that the bus service was to be withdrawn to ensure that there will be transport available for all young people eligible for free school transport. “We are working with services to ensure that this will be in place and liaising fully with families and the affected schools and colleges, to keep them updated.

“We fully understand the distress this has caused for all families affected to find this out at such a late stage and we are doing all we can to mitigate the situation with the limited powers we have to support.”

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