Dartford MP Gareth Johnson has called on a bus company providing Dartford schoolchildren with buses to and from their schools to provide additional services following complaints by parents that the service is overcrowded, unsafe and in many cases too full to even stop and pick their children up.
Students from the local area including those attending North Kent College and the schools in Wilmington have been affected following a reduction in services by the bus company, 1st Bus Stop.
Mr Johnson said: “We have been contacted by numerous worried parents who are concerned about how their children are going to get home from school. Every day we are hearing reports of children not being collected from school because the bus is too full to pick children up and therefore not even stopping. This has left some children stranded with no other way to get home. Parents have been taken by surprise with these problems as there was apparently no consultation with either the schools or parents over these changes.
This is a situation that cannot continue. I have been in contact with headteachers and Kent County Council who subsidise bus usage by school children. I have also taken this issue up with the bus company who contacted my office and were dismissive of the problem.
The bus company needs to increase its capacity. There is a duty of care from the bus company to those who rely on the school buses to be collected from school. We cannot allow a situation to continue where children are simply left at school on their own particularly with the dark winter nights fast approaching yet this is happening right now on a daily basis.
1st Bus Stop has the contract to run these buses and, if this issue continues, then it may become necessary to look seriously at whether that contract can continue.”