Pupils left stranded after bus service between Wyber's Wood and Healing was cancelled
PUPILS were confused when they waited at bus stops in the pouring rain on Tuesday – only to realise that the service had been cancelled during the school holidays.
Youngsters who use the Stagecoach 105 service between Wyber's Wood and Healing returned to Healing School after the Easter break to discover that the service which usually takes them there and back had stopped running on April 2.
The school arranged a private coach to take pupils home and sent letters to parents explaining that the school had not received confirmation of the cancellation.
There is a 45 bus service that runs the route, although in the letter to parents, the school wrote that "it is possible that not all pupils will be able to board the bus", due to the volume of students using the route.
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Outraged parents contacted the Grimsby Telegraph, including Alan Bristow, of Wyber's Wood, who complained to Stagecoach that he was "disgusted" by what he described as a "desertion of duty of care".
"My son left for school in the pouring rain and cold to wait for about 30 minutes for the bus not to appear," he said.
"I was able to take my drenched son to school in my car, but others were probably not so fortunate."
Healing School's principal Ann Addison said she was "disappointed" that Stagecoach had not informed them, and that a speedy solution would be sought.
However, Stagecoach says adequate notice was given.
As reported, the firm proposed a number of service reductions, including the cancellation of the 105 as a result of a 20 per cent cut to Government fuel subsidies available to transport operators.
North East Lincolnshire Council, which subsidises many of the routes, said it would negotiate and has since announced a number of saved services.
Stagecoach claims the notice it gave in January – which is a legal obligation – gave NELC the opportunity to decide if it was necessary to use public funds to commission a service and put it out to tender.
Managing director of Stagecoach Gary Nolan said: "The council was aware that the service was going to be cancelled and it was up to them to decide if they were going to replace the service. As a matter of procedure, we had onboard notices informing people of any changes and the cancellation was reported in the Grimsby Telegraph in February.
"If the route is necessary for education, the council should work with the school to arrange an alternative."
However, because the 105 was not a council-subsidised service, the authority claims it is Stagecoach's responsibility.
A spokesman for NELC said: "The 105 was a commercial service de-registered by Stagecoach and the council is under no obligation to inform the public of it's cancellation."
Mrs Addison maintains that the school should have been informed directly.
"Although we were aware of the consultation, we did not know a decision had been made and the service would stop," she said.
"We have a good relationship with Stagecoach. It should have done us the common courtesy of informing us directly."
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