Busy Doncaster school bus set to be cut

Parents and pupils of Macauley School are unhappy that there are plans to scrap the school bus service from Bentley. Picture: Andrew Roe

Parents and pupils of Macauley School are unhappy that there are plans to scrap the school bus service from Bentley. Picture: Andrew Roe

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A busy bus service to one of Doncaster’s biggest secondary schools is set to be axed, leaving parents and staff concerned for pupil safety.

The 568 service to McAuley Catholic High School will be scrapped at the end of the academic year, with transport bosses blaming budget cuts.

Parents and staff say the pupils will be forced to walk to school or catch several different bus services.

Stacey Wilson, who has two children at the Cantley Lane school, said it is not safe for pupils to walk to school given the recent spate of rapes and violent attacks in Doncaster.

She said: “I have been doing lots of research on recent incidents around the town centre and they do not make for light reading.

“I am a student midwife that travels back and forth to Hull University every day leaving at 7.30am.

“My partner works 12-hour shifts that begin before they leave for school. We simply cannot take them there everyday.

“Some parents are proposing to send their child in a private taxi every day but we simply cannot afford this.

“I am at my wits’ end and contemplating sending them to a different school as a result of this decision.”

A spokesman for McAuley school said: “We are extremely disappointed with this decision.

“We only want the best for our students and we know this will be more inconvenient and raise issues around pupil safety. The safety of our pupils is our main concern and it is a sad state of affairs that South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, SYPTE, seem to be offering no alternative that doesn’t involve either getting up earlier or travelling further afield. We hope SYPTE reconsider this decision.”

The bus that serves Campsall, Norton, Askern, Arksey and Bentley was set to be axed last year but transport bosses extended the service after fierce opposition from parents.

A SYPTE spokesman said: “Following a change in local authorities’ statutory obligation to provide free transport for students, and faced with further cuts to our public transport budget, the contract for service 568 was scheduled to end in 2015. This contract was extended for another academic year as a gesture of goodwill, however unfortunately, in the current financial climate, we are simply not able to continue to fund this service.

“We regret the impact this will have on pupils and parents and we are working with Doncaster Council to support McAuley Catholic High School with planning alternative travel arrangements.

“The majority of pupils are able to use other bus services on the network via Frenchgate Interchange.”