Not enough buses to get children to school, say Yapton parents

Parents from Yapton are calling for a duplicate bus service on the 700 route from Chichester to Littlehampton this week, after a numbero f children have been refused entry on over-full buses.

700 bus near Rustington. Pic Steve Robards SR2009223 SUS-200922-174119001
700 bus near Rustington. Pic Steve Robards SR2009223 SUS-200922-174119001

Covid restrictions on the service mean drivers can only accept a limited number of passengers, which means buses are full by the time they reach Yapton, parents say.

During the September lockdown, Stagecoach ran a duplicate bus service in order to ensure children were ferried to school safely, but have not done the same this month, despite the fact that children returned to schools on March 8.

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Allyson Tryst, mother of two, says she has had to pick her children up from the bus stop several times after they were turned away or ignored by bus drivers. “We need to have a reliable transport system,” she said, “especially for school kids and people who are working. You can’t just run it like that.”

Often she said, bus drivers ignore the children entirely, driving past without stopping to explain that they are full.

Mrs Tryst said she complained to Stagecoach Chichester, which promised to rectify the issue, but that the issues have persisted. .

Ann Murfin, whose daughter attends Felpham Community College, and who pays up to £240 a term so her children can take the bus, said she has experienced many of the same issues.

She said “The same things happen in the evenings. Kids can wait up to an hour in the cold and dark.

“A large percentage of the children’s tickets are bought in advance so Stagecoach must be aware of how many of them are travelling.”

Mark Anstiss, head teacher at Felpham Community College confirmed the issue.

He said: “We have a number of students from different areas and it’s affecting them. Obviously, it’s a concern for us as a school because it means that, if students try to get the same bus as usual, they’re late. Or they’ve got to get up really early to get an earlier bus.”

A spokesperson for Stagecoach said: “We have now made changes to our 700 service to run double deck buses at peak times, instead of the single deck which would normally be used, to provide more capacity for all passengers.”