Parent of Grantham pupils slams decision to cut bus service from school

Traffic queues on Manthorpe Road entering Grantham. EMN-160128-100220001
Traffic queues on Manthorpe Road entering Grantham. EMN-160128-100220001

A parent has condemned the decision by a bus company to stop its service picking up at Priory Ruskin Academy in an afternoon.

Tracy Burling told the Journal that the service had been stopped from January 1 leaving pupils to walk into town to catch connections from the bus station.

Mrs Burling said: “It will no longer pick up from the school from January 1 meaning many children will have to walk to the town centre - almost 2 miles - in the dark and in all weathers, or their parents will have to pay for the commercial service with Stagecoach.

“This is disgraceful. It’s a long and dangerous walk from the school, as the children have to negotiate two of the busiest roads that are the least pedestrian friendly. How many children are going to now miss their only bus home, to villages like Ropsley? There is no other service.”

The stop near the school has been discontinued by AC Williams, based in Ancaster, because it says traffic delays in the area were making passengers late. Motorists and local residents have complained about traffic congestion on Manthorpe Road.

Andrew Scotton, of AC Williams, said: “From the start of this term (January 2017) the WM10 service has been amended. As part of the amendments the service was removed from Priory Ruskin Academy in the afternoon. Please note the coach will still drop pupils off there in the morning. The reason the service was removed was due to the congestion in the area which was having a knock-on effect on the rest of the run and causing a number of students who have further to travel being late home.

“Lincolnshire County Council were contacted prior to the change and they were in agreement that the walk between Priory Ruskin and Grantham Bus Station was suitable and there was sufficient time for students to make this walk.

“Our service is not the only one that collects Priory Ruskin students at the bus station, there are a number of other commercial and LCC services that do the same with a number of students making the walk across town on a daily basis. However, if parents don’t feel it is suitable I believe that there are still some services, operated by Centrebus, that can transport students from Priory Ruskin to Grantham Bus Station and the times of this will fit in with our WM10 route.

“To my knowledge, and I am sure LCC will be able to confirm this, there are no reported issues in students missing connections home as all of the services that leave Grantham Bus Station do so after 1600 which is sufficient time for the students to meet their services home.

“Due to the on-going congestion issues in Grantham we do not have any intention of putting the WM10 service back to collect at Priory Ruskin.”

Jean Harris, Transport Manager with the county council, confirmed: “There will still be a bus service running via the bus station but it will no longer run from the Priory Ruskin Academy in the afternoon. There have been long delays getting to the bus station to pick up other passengers including other Grantham school pupils. The walking route from the bus station is under the two miles threshold for students and there is good footpath and street lighting. There are also a number of other commercial bus service routes that already pick up from the bus station for Priory Ruskin Academy pupils.”