Bus services ‘inadequate’ at Stevenage school

John Henry Newman School's Deputy Head, Jane Goring, said she had repeatedly asked the council to pu

John Henry Newman School's Deputy Head, Jane Goring, said she had repeatedly asked the council to put on more buses - Credit: Archant

Bus services to a school are “inadequate”, according to a deputy headteacher.

Since 2012 pupils attending John Henry Newman School have had to use public transport to get to and from school after buses run by Hertfordshire Council Country (HCC) were cancelled as a result of budget cuts.

Jane Goring, deputy head of John Henry Newman, revealed that there have been no additional services put on despite them asking the council to raise the capacity to deal with the increase in demand.

Ms Goring said: “We have probably 800 kids who have to get home somehow. A lot of them use public buses that used to use school buses. We want there to be more put on, especially at peak times, because the current services are inadequate. We have asked the council several times to do something about it but nothing has happened.”

However, HCC said that the buses were run by a private company, Arriva, and they had no control over the service.

A spokesman said: “The issue should be raised with the operator as the service is being provided on a commercial basis (i.e. for profit, without HCC involvement).”

Jackie McDonald, of Moss Way, Hitchin, was trying to catch the bus outside John Henry Newman School in December but said she was unable to board as it was ‘dangerously overcrowded’.

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Ms McDonald, of Moss Way, said: “It was dangerously overcrowded and jam-packed with schoolchildren, I thought it was going to crash.”

In response to Ms McDonald’s claim the bus was overloaded, Linsey Frostick, regional marketing manger for Arriva, said the CCTV from the bus had been reviewed and that it was not overcrowded.

She said: “Whilst the bus would have been full, it was not overcrowded and definitely not carrying an illegal load.

“We can also confirm that we have not been contacted by the school with regards to concerns over bus usage for their students.”