Parents, councillors and MP 'delighted' at u-turn on Warwick school bus service

Parents and guardians were growing concerned how their children would get to school

Thursday, 6th August 2020, 11:57 am
Updated Thursday, 6th August 2020, 4:38 pm

Parents, councillors and the Warwick and Leamington MP are all 'delighted' that a u-turn has been made on a bus service to a Warwick school.

In June The Courier ran a story about Warwickshire County Council (WCC) withdrawing the 529 bus service, which runs along the route from the Woodloes to Aylesford School.

Parents and guardians were growing concerned about how their children would get to school after the bus service - that had been run for more than 30 years - was withdrawn.

After highlighting the issue, councillors and MP Matt Western supported the parents' plight.

Now the council has announced that they will be reinstating the service on a one-year contract with a review at the end of the academic year.

Jessica Goulding, who lives in the Woodloes area, has a son starting year 7 at Aylesford School in September.

She highlighted the issue with the Courier and says that the council's decision bring much relief.

Parents, councillors and the Warwick and Leamington MP are all 'delighted' that a u-turn has been made on a bus service to a Warwick school.
Photo shows: Aylesford School, from Google Streetview, MP Matt Western and WCC Logo by Warwickshire County Council.
Parents, councillors and the Warwick and Leamington MP are all 'delighted' that a u-turn has been made on a bus service to a Warwick school. Photo shows: Aylesford School, from Google Streetview, MP Matt Western and WCC Logo by Warwickshire County Council.

Jessica said: "It is a huge relief knowing this service will be reinstated for September - I never thought it would happen!

"It is the best decision WCC could have made.

"I am grateful they have managed to make it happen.

"I know a few parents have already quickly re-applied to ensure they secure a seat on the service for their children.

"It was a huge concern taking this bus service away for the Woodloes estate parents."

Speaking about the campaign, Jessica said: "Since we highlighted the issue, a few parents joined and emailed the local WCC councillor Pam Williams.

"The 529 school bus service is very much needed for children to get to school safely, without the added concerns of social distancing.

"The reinstating of this bus service, is in light of Gavin Williamson securing a package from the treasury.

"The government wants local authorities to ensure children avoid using public transport where there is greater chance of transmission.

"The government also want to cut the number of parents doing the school run with their children - further reducing the health risk.

"This funding has ultimately saved the service ensuring that there is now a one-year contract in place, ensuring that Aylesford pupils can now travel safely without having to use public transport."

Jessica added: "I have had great support from MP Matt Western and his senior caseworker Andy Marshall, Warwick Town Mayor (at the time) - Neale Murphy.

"I am very thankful for their interest and huge support.

"Matt Western has asked that if there is any indication of the 529 bus service being in threat again in the future, to get back in touch with him.

"Hopefully WCC will soon begin to realise that this bus service is valuable to many Aylesford pupils."

MP Matt Western said: "I'm delighted that the County Council have u-turned and have acted on mine and parents' concerns to restore this crucial service, which numerous schoolchildren relied on. I'd like to thank all the residents who were involved in the campaign.

"We need more public transport links, not less. We've seen countless reductions in local bus services over the last decade.

"I’ll continue working to improve our local bus network."

On Twitter Cllr Jody Tracey, a district and town councillor for Warwick, welcomed the news.

He said: "Delighted to have played my part in getting the vital 529 service from All Saints & Woodloes restored.

"Saving pupils from having to transfer in town over the winter months.

"But even more in awe of local parents & residents of All Saints & Woodloes who fought this all the way too."

Councillor Jeff Clarke, portfolio holder for transport and planning said: "The county council is reinstating the 529 service reserved specifically for school students to minimise their use of public transport and interaction with the population outside their own school group, as part of the Covid-19 guidance.

"The service will be contracted for one year and will be reviewed at the end of the academic year.

"Parents of children who previously travelled on this service should apply online at https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/vacantseatscheme.'