Students at a Wrexham school were left stranded this morning after they were unable to use the school transport due to not having a bus pass.
A number of students at Ysgol Morgan Llwyd were told this morning that they were not allowed to use the school bus as they did not have the appropriate pass. It is believed pupils from all years at the school have been affected, with one bus reportedly only letting three out of 11 children at the bus stop onto the bus.
However it is believed that students at the school have never been expected to use passes before, with one parent telling Wrexham.com that her son has never been issued a a pass during his four years at the school.
This morning’s issues have meant that several parents have been late for work as a result of having to drop their children off at the school. It is also reported that the phone lines to Wrexham Council regarding the issues have been busy all morning.
Several parents have since contacted Wrexham.com regarding this morning’s incident, which has been described by one parent as ‘frustrating and inconvenient’.
Rebecca Edwards, who lives in New Broughton said her son was refused access to the bus this morning and that there were many children walking to school as a result.
Rebecca Edwards told Wrexham.com this morning: “I am an hour late for work and I can’t get through to the council to apply for a bus pass or have any idea how long it will take to sort out. I am now left with having to be late for work every day and leave early to take him to school and back, I am fuming! Something needs to be done about this situation as soon as possible.!
Rebecca added: “There were only two kids on the bus and lots of kids traipsing into school this morning by foot. When we arrived at school there was a queue at the door of angry frustrated parents.
“The council told me this morning that Blake should of been using his bus pass for the last five years. He has never had one.”
Another person contacted us via Twitter to say that an 11-year-old had been left crying his eyes out, with many children left stranded in the town centre.
Sue McGrane also contacted Wrexham.com to say that her youngest daughter started year 9 today and she was also refused access to the bus, despite never being issued with a pass before.
Sue said: “Despite the fact that she has never been asked to produce a bus pass in order to get onto the bus before, she along with other children, were told they could not travel on the school transport without one – and the driver drove off, leaving her and the other children stranded.
“Her older brother and sister, now aged 19 and 21 also went to this school, and they had never been asked to produce a bus pass either. I have no recollection of my daughter being issued with a pass, but do remember we received a letter confirming she was entitled to transport.”
Sue added: “It’s fortunate that i was home and able to get her to school. And on arrival there, there were a crowd of angry parents who were in exactly the same position as myself. None had been notified that this ‘rule’ had come into play, none – like myself – were even aware that the rule exists. One parent said that a whole bunch of children were currently walking from Coed Poeth to the school, as they had also been refused entry onto the bus. Many parents, who had to go to work or who had other commitments, were worried about collecting the children at 3.30pm – several said they would be unable to do so.
“It’s hard to see why the council have suddenly decided to enforce a rule that few parents even knew about, with no warning or notification. Come to that, it’s hard to see the point of the rule – the children are all in uniform, its clear that they are pupils – in many cases, the bus drivers know the children by sight, as they have used the bus for years. Issuing new passes is going to cost money, at a time when the council claims to be cash strapped – it defies all common sense and is inconsiderate and idiotic behaviour on the part of the council, to say the least.”
Ysgol Morgan Llwyd have since distributed the information out to parents via letter, school’s website, twitter and parentmail.
Lois Jones from the school said: “This morning, we were notified that Wrexham County Borough Council’s Transport Department had informed the bus companies that they were to operate a ‘No bus pass, No travel’ policy, and for it to be operational from Tuesday, 2 of September 2014. The school had not received any warning or any information about this.
“This has obviously caused problems, uncertainty and concern for a number of pupils, parents and families at the start of this new term.
“The management of arrangements and school transport contracts are the sole responsibility of Wrexham County Borough Council. As a school, we have contacted and had discussions with County officers in order to solve the problem.
“This will be the arrangement for this week: Tuesday afternoon, 2nd September until Friday afternoon 5 September: each pupil who travel on a school bus will have permission to use the bus on the condition they have this letter to show the bus driver.
“Under the direction of WCBC, the parents of all pupils without a valid bus pass must apply for and receive a new bus pass by Monday, 8th September 2014. In order to facilitate this, these are the contact details: Phone the Transport Department on 01978 292 056; or there is a copy of the form on the Council website here.
A spokesperson for Wrexham Council said: “We are aware that there have been some problems with pupils not having passes for travel to school this morning, notably at Ysgol Morgan Llwyd. As a temporary measure we are allowing Ysgol Morgan Llwyd children to travel without passes for the remainder of this week and we are working with the school to issue passes to children as soon as possible. We are also allowing children to return from some other schools where there are large numbers of pupils without passes this afternoon as a temporary measure.
“Parents need to apply for school transport and pupils will need to show their pass to the driver to board the bus to school. The need to have passes to travel is due to past cases of children who are not eligible travelling without a pass, which may leave eligible children who are boarding later along the route unable to board the bus. We also need to have accurate records of who is actually travelling on school transport.
“Information for parents about the need to apply for transport and obtain a bus pass for their child is included in the school information pack that is distributed to parents when their children move from primary to secondary school. The information about the need to apply for school transport and obtain a pass was also highlighted through posters at some public places over the summer (including the bus station ) as well as through the council’s social media platforms.
“Parents who need to apply for a pass can do so using the council’s web site (under Education – school transport) or by phoning the school transport office at (01978) 292056.”
A forum thread regarding this morning’s confusion has already been started. You can take part / view the discussion here.