Thursday, 11 September 2014

Local parents concern over pupil transport to Callington

A number of local parents have expressed concern over the difficulties facing Launceston-based pupils attending Callington College. One parent has found that a season ticket they bought is for a bus that no longer exists and others have complained about the unreliability of some of the remaining services.

For a variety of reasons, some parents choose to send their children to Callington College. In cases where this is a matter of parental choice (rather than because there is no place available at a more local school) then the council is not responsible for home to school transport.

In the case of getting to Callington, there are local bus services which are run by both First Group and Western Greyhound - the 76 and the 576 respectively. They run at various times through the day and enable pupils to get to and from school. However, First have withdrawn the return service that left immediately after school and pupils therefore have to wait for an hour or so before they can start their journey home.

One parent had bought a season ticket for their child from First Group in the expectation of being able to use the service which has now been withdrawn. I trust that First will be making a refund of the full price of the season ticket and the council will be supporting the parent on this.

The other principle concern is over the reliability of the Western Greyhound service. I am told that there are many occasions when the bus terminates at Westgate Street rather than continuing to St Stephens and beyond. As a result, children have to walk to final mile home. There are also issues with buses arriving on time or being cancelled altogether.

As the route between Launceston and Callington is not a subsidised route, there is little that the council can do to enforce the reliability of the service. But I am asking officers to get in touch with Western Greyhound to make sure that pupils and other passengers are getting the service that they pay for and aren't kicked off the bus early or left hanging around hoping that the bus will arrive.


Anonymous said...

I'm assuming that this service is the Plymouth bus? It's going to affect those who need to work or study in the city as well, employment prospects are not great as it is here and I know the job centre instruct job seekers to look far afield as Plymouth.

I'm sure there's a few reasons why some parents decide to send their children to Callington and not Launceston College, but it certainly is not because the college has no space there, if their admission policy is anything to go by. It states "Children for whom Launceston College is their nearest school will be admitted to the school regardless of the number on roll in the year group."

Alex Folkes said...

Yep - there are a number of people who travel between Bude, Launceston, Callington and Plymouth each day for work or study. We have a relatively good bus service, but it is intensely annoying and frustrating for people when the particular service they rely on is either late or cancelled (or the whole service withdrawn). We need to keep all the operators up to the mark and running the services they say they will.

As for Launceston college, sorry if I wasn't clear. At present there are spaces for all who want to attend there and the college has said they will always make room for pupils for whom this is their nearest school.

The point I was making is that if there was no space at Launceston and a pupil was placed at Callington, then the council would be responsible for travel costs. But if it is a matter of choice then the council will not pick up the costs.