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Carleton parents enlist the help of MP in bus pass row
9:00am Thursday 30th January 2014 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.”
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