By Carl Jackson Thursday 29 August 2013 Updated: 30/08 12:46
CALLS have been made to restore a school bus service to prevent pupils walking more than half a mile in bad weather to the nearest pick up point.
Parents attending Cofton PACT meetings have requested Diamond Buses resurrect the 204 service which served streets around Grovely Lane and transported pupils to Waseley Hills High School.
The variation of the 202 ceased in September 2011 as the operator deemed it no longer viable meaning the nearest stop now for students in the area is by the Hare and Hounds in Rednal.
County Coun Peter McDonald, member for Beacon, claimed Waseley Hills had altered their timetable without consulting the bus provider properly meaning fewer pupils were able to use the service after the change.
"The school should have ensured it would not affect the bus service.
"Students have now gone through two rough winters where they have had to walk in all weathers to Rednal to get a bus, or walk almost three miles to school.
"The school has an obligation to ensure they no longer have to arrive at school worst for the weather.
"Parents originally chose Waseley because of the bus service and the onus is on the school to see it’s reinstated."
School principal Alan Roll, said it was 'deliberately misleading' to blame the school for the problem and argued Coun McDonald raised no objection to the initial discussions in 2009 while he was a governor at Waseley.
"We followed the full consultation timetable to make a minor change to the start and end of the school day.
"If we had not then Worcestershire County Council (WCC) would not of allowed us to make the change."
Mr Roll said the council's Swan Street service had taken 40 students from the 204 contributing to the problem.
Finally he added it was the council's legal responsibility to ensure pupil's living beyond three miles could get to school.
However Mr Roll said the school had held meetings with parents to discuss alternative options, all of which had so far proved too expensive.
A county council spokesman said Diamond made a commercial decision to cancel the 204 after the council withdrew its subsidy as part of the BOLD review - a programme to slash £90million from its budget by its 2015/16, including £750,000 in bus services.
He also confirmed the council deemed it acceptable for students to walk from Groveley Lane to the Hare and Hounds and claimed the Swan Street service was irrelevant to the 202/204 as it catered for a different set of pupils.
Finally the spokesman said the council was only aware of the timetable change at a late stage and were not fully aware of the correspondence between Waseley and Diamond.
Andy Baker, transport planning and commissioning manager for WCC, said: "The county council will continue to seek opportunities to improve the current situation, and explore potential sources of funding.
"Diamond Bus are aware of the request, and will no doubt keep it in mind when reviewing services."
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