Pupils stay off the school bus, but council insists it is safe

Only a handful of pupils used the double decker school bus from Kilcreggan during high winds on Friday morning, with many parents worried about safety.

Council officials insisted afterwards that the service to Hermitage Academy is safe – despite an incident before Christmas when a window fell off the upper deck.

Argyll and Bute Council appeared to be pinning the blame on pupils’ behaviour rather than the condition of the bus.

A spokesperson said: “The incident which took place towards the end of term, and which resulted in the rear window of the bus being forced out, has been concluded, and appropriate action has been taken with regard to the behaviour of the pupils involved.”

It is understood that as few as six children travelled on the bus on Friday morning, but with further bad weather predicted for the first part of this week, but the council says children must attend school regardless: “If entitled pupils chose not to use the transport provided by the council, they must make their own way to the school.”

The spokesperson added: “The bus service from Ardpeaton, Cove and Kilcreggan to Hermitage Academy departed Ardpeaton on time at 07.50, and was available to all pupils who elected to travel on it. The bus travelled safely to Hermitage Academy and arrived on time.

“Child safety is of paramount importance to the council and we and our operators ensure that children get to and from school safely and on time.”

Former councillor Danny Kelly said his three grandchildren had not taken the bus on Friday and many other children had returned home when they saw the double-decker was being used.

“Between the high wind and the window falling out, quite a number are not confident traveling on the double-decker,” he said.

No-one was hurt when the window fell out last month, but parents said they were shocked by the incident and worried about their children’s safety.

Double-deckers were introduced in January 2013 after the school bus contract was awarded to Garelochhead Minibuses and Coaches Ltd following a long legal battle which ended in the Court of Session in Edinburgh; initially it had been awarded to Dumbarton-based firm McColls but the tendering process was ruled to be unsound.

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