14th Nov, 2019

Mile walk for pupils 'unsafe', claim parents as Solihull school bus faces axe

John Carlon 18th Oct, 2019

A SCHOOL bus taking Marston Green students to Heart of England School looks to be scrapped under Solihull Council proposals.

Youngsters who travel on the 197 service from Marston Green to Balsall Common will be forced to take alternative transport, as the council removes funding for the bus.

The school service currently costs Solihull Council £36,000. Leaders of the four party groups at the council will decide the route’s future at a meeting on October 21.

Council officers have proposed the service end in September 2020, stating: “A review of existing routes highlighted that the 197 bus route from Marston Green to Heart of England School serves a group of pupils who do not qualify for free travel assistance as they are not attending their catchment-area school.

“They have chosen, through parental preference, to secure a place at Heart of England School.”

During Solihull Council’s consultation, concerned parents responded that taking the train would be unreasonable, as “there is a mile walk from Berkswell station to Heart of England School and it is unsafe particularly in the dark, with no footpaths in places.”

“The train service is unreliable and subject to delays and cancellations.”

“Train travel is unsafe for school-aged pupils who may forget to get off and end up in London.”

“The alternative train journey is impractical during the winter months.”

“There is insufficient capacity on the train for the Marston Green pupils.”

The 197, run by Claribels Coaches, runs from Marston Green via Solihull station, Copt Heath, Chadwick End and Honiley to Heart of England school.

Based on the price of a season ticket, trains could cost £114 per year per pupils, according to officers.

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