North West Wales

School bus problems prompt parents' concern

Secondary school pupils in rural Gwynedd are arriving late for lessons because of bus delays, it is claimed.

The problems near Dolgellau began after a school minibus service ended suddenly and children now have to use the service bus instead.

One parent said the service bus was often late, often full and sometimes did not turn up at all.

Gwynedd council said pupil safety was a priority and the matter was being looked at.

Aranwen Manzini-Hughes said her 14-year-old son and daughter aged 11 were among ten pupils affected on their six mile journey from Rhydymain to Ysgol y Gader at Dolgellau.

"The problem is that the bus comes from Wrexham and often runs late, which makes the children late for school, and often it does not turn up at all," she said.

"I work in Blaenau Ffestiniog and I leave before them, and my husband is a farmer so there is often no-one home to take them and there have been instances where neighbours have picked them up, or the school has even sent a minibus to get them.

"I'm also concerned that it is a service bus and there is no way to predict how full it will be," she added.

"When I rang the council office in Caernarfon to speak to someone about it I was told that it is perfectly acceptable for my 11-year-old daughter to stand, or to sit by someone she does not know if this happens.

"I'm not happy about this - I don't think it's acceptable and I want the minibus service re-instated."

Safety 'priority'

Local Gwynedd councillor Peredur Jenkins said: "I am outraged that secondary aged school pupils are being left without an adequate transport service to carry them to Ysgol y Gader, the secondary school in Dolgellau.

"The most recent incident left pupils at Rhydymain early in the morning still waiting at their pick-up points for their bus at 9.30am... and some of these pupils already had the additional pressures of sitting examinations."

Gareth Roberts, the Gwynedd council cabinet member responsible for school transport, said that safety was a priority.

"Fines will be imposed on transport companies running these services as they are not adhering to the terms and conditions of their agreement with Gwynedd council," he said.

"Officers are also working on inviting a transport service exclusively for school pupils in the area, and tenders will be invited from companies interested in carrying out this service."

Arriva, the bus company concerned, has been asked to comment.

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