U-turn after protest over school bus changes

Anger over school bus time changes in Faygate. Parents and children say that the changes will mean that the children will have to walk along the the busy A264. Pic Steve Robards  SR1625902 SUS-160609-170600001

Anger over school bus time changes in Faygate. Parents and children say that the changes will mean that the children will have to walk along the the busy A264. Pic Steve Robards SR1625902 SUS-160609-170600001

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Angry protesters have forced the county council into a U-turn on a decision to change school bus routes.

Parents in Faygate were outraged after receiving new timetables for the Autumn term which outlined all three stops in the village would no longer be served.

The changes meant children had to catch the morning bus from a stop near the A264 roundabout and the closest service for afternoon drop-off was in Kilnwood Vale, more than a mile away.

Tina Percival has two girls, Genevieve and Eleanor, who catch the bus from the village to Milias School.

She received a letter from West Sussex County Council explaining the changes on Saturday, September 3, four days before the start of the new school term.

She said: “On the way home they are expecting them to walk all the way back which is 1.2 miles on a grass verge along a dark dual carriageway. I can’t believe people think this is acceptable.”

Tina said she was only aware of the changes as the letter was sent to parents whose children had been at the school the previous year.

She said all the new starters in the village, including her daughter Genevieve, received the old timetable.

“I would have sent my daughter to go to the bus stop as usual. She would not have known if I hadn’t told her.”

The council has since backtracked on the decision and is now serving the village for afternoon drop-off.

A county council spokesman said: “We have written to affected parents to confirm the bus will now stop at Faygate in the afternoons and pupils will be dropped off in the village.

“We have apologised that we did not spot the issue sooner and the confusion this caused.”

Tina said the problem had not been resolved for some parents whose children still have to cross busy roads.

She said: “They are not going to do anything about the morning stop.

“Obviously I am relieved but it’s still not ideal for me because I am still not happy to let my children go down the dual carriageway at seven o’clock in the morning to that stop. We have come to some sort of conclusion but as far as I am concerned its not finished.”

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