Carleton parents enlist the help of MP in bus pass row

Stuart Pighills with his children Emma and Jack

Stuart Pighills with his children Emma and Jack

First published in News

Skipton MP Julian Smith has pledged to lend his weight to the fight by parents to get their children’s free school bus passes back.

The 39 youngsters who relied on them to get to school in Skipton along dark and “dangerous” Ramper - Skipton Road - from their homes in Carleton, have had their passes removed as part of swingeing cuts in subsidised bus services throughout North Yorkshire.

Mr Smith was invited to meet campaigning parents at The Swan public house in the village and listen to their grievance.

Later he walked along the road to the junction with Carla Beck Lane, the first point where pupils have to cross the de-restricted road because the pavement runs out on the right hand side.

Further on the journey, pupils also have to cross to new pavement opposite Waltonwrays and again before the railway bridge in Carleton Road.

Mr Smith heard how the road was unlit and bus fares are estimated to cost parents in the region of £550 per school year per child.

Some parents were now choosing to walk with their children rather than let them tackle the journey alone.

Parents have lodged a complaint with the Local Government Ombudsman and are critical of Road Safety GB whose guidance advice was taken by county council bosses.

They say it is flawed in one way at least because it fails to accept that lack of street lighting constituted a danger.

Steve Richardson, chairman of the parent pressure group, said: “We have taken advice from a consultant and their report clearly indicates that it is not a safe route and has 12 hazards.”

Parents were particularly critical of the county because there had been no invitation to reach a compromise.

One father, Stuart Pighills, said he would have been prepared to make some contribution to the bus fare.

“There was no attempt to meet us half way,” said Mr Pighills whose three children Amy, 15, Emma, 13 and Jack 11, attend Aireville School. “It is a farce.

“The route is not safe - the footpath is narrow, uneven and floods regularly. It needs to be reassessed.”

Mr Smith said he felt sympathy for the parents. “I agree, if it was my child I would not be happy. It’s my job to hold the council to account in how it implements the cuts. It is possible to square the circle by making efficiencies and retaining key services particularly where safety is concerned.”

Comments (4)

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12:05pm Thu 30 Jan 14

willow_wanderer says...

Making children walk that path is an accident waiting to happen...60mph road, unlit, bumpy, frequently flooded, several crossings to make where the road dips and turns - bet none of the councillers who made the decision tried the walk.

Good on the parents, and good on Julian Smith for getting involved and at least doing some of the walk.

Good luck to them getting the decision reversed, or at least met halfway.

Craven council - have you forgotten what the tax money is for? Its for providing services and improving the area, NOT for fancy buildings and wallpaper!
Making children walk that path is an accident waiting to happen...60mph road, unlit, bumpy, frequently flooded, several crossings to make where the road dips and turns - bet none of the councillers who made the decision tried the walk. Good on the parents, and good on Julian Smith for getting involved and at least doing some of the walk. Good luck to them getting the decision reversed, or at least met halfway. Craven council - have you forgotten what the tax money is for? Its for providing services and improving the area, NOT for fancy buildings and wallpaper! willow_wanderer
  • Score: 4

3:55pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Skipton Ratepayer says...

I know adult women who have felt very uneasy walking that road alone; you are a long way from anywhere and can get some funny looks from passing cars. I would not want a daughter of mine to have to do that journey, especially in the dusk, and they can't always ensure that they can walk in a group.
I'd rather the councillors made their children walk it than tried it themselves. It's not adults who are being put at risk here.
I know adult women who have felt very uneasy walking that road alone; you are a long way from anywhere and can get some funny looks from passing cars. I would not want a daughter of mine to have to do that journey, especially in the dusk, and they can't always ensure that they can walk in a group. I'd rather the councillors made their children walk it than tried it themselves. It's not adults who are being put at risk here. Skipton Ratepayer
  • Score: 5

9:24pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Andy from Embsay says...

Am I missing something here? I assume Carleton is within the specified distance so that free bus passes are not automatically provided (three miles?). Anybody else living less than three miles from school has to pay for their bus fare or choose alternative transport - in most cases I'd suggest it's unlikely that children living the best part of an hour's walk from school are actually going to walk - so one assumes that they'll either get a lift or take the (paid for) bus.

I live less than half a mile from the three mile limit (one of my daughter's mates walks to the same bus stop and uses her free bus pass to do the same journey as my kids), so we don't get free transport either - every Monday I have to give my 2 daughters £13.30 each for their weekly bus pass. Is there some reason why this doesn't apply to Carleton?
Am I missing something here? I assume Carleton is within the specified distance so that free bus passes are not automatically provided (three miles?). Anybody else living less than three miles from school has to pay for their bus fare or choose alternative transport - in most cases I'd suggest it's unlikely that children living the best part of an hour's walk from school are actually going to walk - so one assumes that they'll either get a lift or take the (paid for) bus. I live less than half a mile from the three mile limit (one of my daughter's mates walks to the same bus stop and uses her free bus pass to do the same journey as my kids), so we don't get free transport either - every Monday I have to give my 2 daughters £13.30 each for their weekly bus pass. Is there some reason why this doesn't apply to Carleton? Andy from Embsay
  • Score: -1

8:48pm Mon 3 Feb 14

Skipton Ratepayer says...

Andy from Embsay wrote:
Am I missing something here? I assume Carleton is within the specified distance so that free bus passes are not automatically provided (three miles?). Anybody else living less than three miles from school has to pay for their bus fare or choose alternative transport - in most cases I'd suggest it's unlikely that children living the best part of an hour's walk from school are actually going to walk - so one assumes that they'll either get a lift or take the (paid for) bus.

I live less than half a mile from the three mile limit (one of my daughter's mates walks to the same bus stop and uses her free bus pass to do the same journey as my kids), so we don't get free transport either - every Monday I have to give my 2 daughters £13.30 each for their weekly bus pass. Is there some reason why this doesn't apply to Carleton?
It's not a 'walk of under 3 miles' that matters, it's supposed to be a SAFE walk of under 3 miles, which this one isn't. It would have dangers for children in a group, but an isolated child who had missed the others or had to stay late for something would end up walking the whole way alone, and that is not something anyone I know would want their child to do.
Many of us can remember walking long distances to school, but they were usually on ordinary roads with proper, continuous footpaths of a decent width and state of repair.
[quote][p][bold]Andy from Embsay[/bold] wrote: Am I missing something here? I assume Carleton is within the specified distance so that free bus passes are not automatically provided (three miles?). Anybody else living less than three miles from school has to pay for their bus fare or choose alternative transport - in most cases I'd suggest it's unlikely that children living the best part of an hour's walk from school are actually going to walk - so one assumes that they'll either get a lift or take the (paid for) bus. I live less than half a mile from the three mile limit (one of my daughter's mates walks to the same bus stop and uses her free bus pass to do the same journey as my kids), so we don't get free transport either - every Monday I have to give my 2 daughters £13.30 each for their weekly bus pass. Is there some reason why this doesn't apply to Carleton?[/p][/quote]It's not a 'walk of under 3 miles' that matters, it's supposed to be a SAFE walk of under 3 miles, which this one isn't. It would have dangers for children in a group, but an isolated child who had missed the others or had to stay late for something would end up walking the whole way alone, and that is not something anyone I know would want their child to do. Many of us can remember walking long distances to school, but they were usually on ordinary roads with proper, continuous footpaths of a decent width and state of repair. Skipton Ratepayer
  • Score: 4

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