Mum angered by school bus pass delays

First published in Abingdon

A MOTHER who received her son’s school bus pass only days before the school term started has described the allocation system as “absolutely dreadful”.

Melanie Murphy’s 11-year-old son, Joshua, is due to start at Abingdon’s Larkmead School today and was told he qualified for a bus pass because the route to school had been judged too dangerous to walk.

But despite other Marcham villagers receiving their passes months ago, last week Miss Murphy was still waiting for her son’s pass. It wasn’t until her support worker made a call on her behalf that the transport card arrived on Saturday.

She said: “I kept phoning all the different numbers and it kept going into answer machine. It was quite worrying.”

At one point Miss Murphy was told there was no space left on the bus, before the pass was eventually issued.

She said: “The system last week was absolutely dreadful. There was a complete lack of communication and the whole situation was an absolute nightmare.”

Neil Darlington, admissions and transport services manager for Oxfordshire County Council , said parents entitled to free school transport who had requested it before the deadline “should” have been allocated a place in time for the first week of school.

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He said: “It may be that parents did not apply early enough or have still not yet responded, which in turn will affect their allocation.

“Oxfordshire County Council is working with these parents and transport providers to try to ensure places are provided as soon as possible.”

The council said 54 children eligible for free transport were still having details arranged by the end of Monday but transport had been organised for 11,021 children. It claimed it did not keep records of numbers from last year.

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