School bus row

THE issue of transportation for some pupils attending Greenfaulds High School has again been raised.

And there seems to be confusion over the guidelines surrounding free transport.

A commercial operator had been running buses from Carrickstone to the school but has withdrawn its services.

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One parent at the school, Stuart Watson, said. “The council does not provide transport for journeys of less than two miles and that means we will not have a bus. However, I and every parent I have spoken to share the same concerns over the walking route pupils are expected to use. It is quite hard going due to being hilly, in poor condition and overgrown, even though the trees were cut back a bit.”

A spokesman for North Lanarkshire Council said: “Pupils who live within two miles from the school do not qualify for free travel. In response to demand, private contractors have been providing transport for pupils who do not qualify for free travel, facilitated by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport. There is no contract with the council. However we do take an interest in the provision, for example by bringing problems to the attention of SPT such as parents’ concerns about overcrowding. ”

But SPT’s stance contradicts that of the council. A spokeswoman said: “SPT manages school transport contracts on behalf of councils in areas where they ask us to do so. These contracts are, however, solely designed to meet the needs of those qualifying under the particular council’s eligibility criteria.

“For those pupils who do not qualify for free transport under council guidelines, and where there are no alternative transport links, SPT endeavours to assist by approaching bus operators to determine whether any is willing to offer a commercial service”.