Coach company cancels school service because of poor behaviour

A school bus service is being cancelled from Thursday because of the poor behaviour of a minority of students.

It is understood that over 50 students from Longwell Green, North Common, Oldland Common and Willsbridge rely on the 432 service provided by South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach Company to take pupils to travel to and from Wellsway School and IKB Academy in Keynsham.

Wellsway principal Matthew Woodville says that he, representatives of the parents affected and the bus company are meeting tomorrow in an attempt to resolve the matter.

Roger Durbin, director of South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach Company Ltd said in a statement today: “We have provided the 432 service for over 10 years. In October 2017 our driver received repeated abuse and the vehicles sustained substantial damage on several occasions.

“The severity and frequency escalated in November and through December. In addition to the existing problems, some pupils started displaying behaviour which could severely comprise their safety and the safety of others. We immediately communicated all the issues we experienced to the school (Wellsway) and stated our increasing concerns regarding the safety implications. As the transport provider we had taken action within our remit such as temporary and permanent removals of individuals identified by the driver. We had requested the support of teachers whilst at the school.

“The decision to cease the current arrangement regarding the school was taken after further incidents on 16th and 17th of January. On 17th January it was communicated to the school verbally and then followed up with an email the same day. We had presented an alternative arrangement which would mean the school would collect fares and pay us a daily rate and damage costs would be paid separately. This option was explained to the school verbally and in the email.

“We have been informed the schools (Wellsway and IKB) are notifying the parents of the withdrawal of the service. We have spoken to concerned parents who have contacted us directly and have explained the situation in full. It is regrettable we are in this position but we have been unable to resolve the issues and prevent them from escalating.

“We need to ensure we provide a safe environment for our employees and passengers and we are not able to do so under the current circumstances.”