Parents’ concern over ‘crowded’ school buses for Rasen students

Parents have expressed their concerns over crowded school buses being ‘unsafe’.

Concerns over crowding on school bus (Photo supplied)

In particular, capacity on the bus serving De Aston School for children from Binbrook has been brought into question, with this picture showing the situation faced. One parent said: “How is this allowing our children to be safe?

“A number of parents have been talking about this. How can it be right for the children to be crammed in like this? We are really worried.

“We have contacted the bus company but we are not happy with their response, as all they say is they are working in guidelines.

“The bus is usually a public service bus but during Covid this has been changed to school only.

“This has also meant the bus is now single decker, with the public bus (also a single decker) following on behind – and it is empty, which is ridiculous.”

One parent also highlighted the difference between guidelines on public buses and school buses.

She said: “My mother uses a bus regularly and passengers have to sit on separate seats which are staggered to allow distancing. ”

Mark Rainey, from the schools transport team, said “We’ve been working with transport operators to ensure buses are regularly cleaned and we’re encouraging passengers to wear face coverings.

“Although government guidance does not require social distancing on dedicated school buses, we encourage pupils to do this while waiting for and, where possible, on the bus.

“We also encourage pupils to sit in their school bubbles on the bus, if possible. In addition, pupils should wash their hands before and after travelling, and not eat on the bus. To reduce crowding on the buses, we’re asking pupils to walk or cycle to school if they can, or have their parents drive them to school, if that’s an option.

“We have brought in some additional school buses on the busiest routes, but this is not possible on every route.”

Dave Skepper, commercial director for Stagecoach East Midlands, which runs the service, said: “The arrangements for school bus services across our operating region have been agreed with local authority transport officers.

“Public bus services are subject to temporary capacity limits because of the mix of different people on board.

“If a bus is restricted to ‘school children only’ who are travelling to a designated school in a ‘bubble’, it can run to the usual certified capacity.

“There are currently two buses allocated to operate Service 53B between Binbrook and De Aston School. One runs for ‘schoolchildren only’ and the other operates the usual public service.

“Children can travel on either bus but they must observe social distancing on the vehicle that is open to the general public.”