Families campaign for school transport
Pucklechurch children who attend Brimsham Green School and their parents protest at a bus stop in the village. Picture: Andy Cox
PARENTS of children from Pucklechurch who attend a school in Yate are calling for a school bus service to be extended.
Since the start of September 16 children from ten households in the village have been attending Brimsham Green School - up from seven last year.
Bus company Stagecoach runs service 967 to take children who are not entitled to free transport to and from Brimsham Green and Chipping Sodbury School. The service is also open to the public.
But currently the nearest stop to Pucklechurch is two-and-a-half miles away, in Westerleigh.
Parents have been calling on the West of England Combined Authority, which has powers over transport, to extend the route.
But they have been told WECA does not have the funds to subsidise the extension - and doing it on a commercial basis would result in a return ticket costing £3.75 - more than three times the £1.10 it costs from Westerleigh.
Justine Cox, who has a daughter at Brimsham Green, said at present parents either drive their children to the stop in Westerleigh or the whole six miles to the school - representing either 25 miles or 120 miles per car, per week in round trips at the start and end of the school day.
She said: “Around three years ago some parents stared petitioning WECA to allow a stop in the village, without success.
“We merely wish for our children to have the same opportunities as others from the village, who are able to catch a bus to other local schools.
“We are only asking a viable, affordable, greener alternative to having to drive our children to school or the next village to catch the bus.”
Justine has been lobbying WECA and Metro Mayor Dan Norris to fund extending the route, and has had support from her MP, Luke Hall.
Mr Norris said: “It seems clear that extending the route on to Pucklechurch would benefit a number of young people. However, additional government funding would be needed if this were to be done at no or minimal extra cost to parents.
“Since being elected in May, I have been lobbying government Ministers hard for extra money to head west from London to support our local bus services. I continue to do so.
“Local MPs of all three parties represented in our area have just supported my call to the government to rethink its sudden two-thirds reduction in funding for West of England services.”