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‘It’s an hour’s walk home’ - Frustrated parents petition for school bus link

PUBLISHED: 17:35 05 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:48 06 September 2020

Ruth Hogan has set up a petition to First Bus so that her children - George (5), Hannah (11) and Jamie (13) - can get home from school on an evening via public transport. Currently, there is no return service from Bradwell to Belton that her teenagers can access when school finishes at 3pm. Photo: Ella Wilkinson/Ruth Hogan

Ruth Hogan has set up a petition to First Bus so that her children - George (5), Hannah (11) and Jamie (13) - can get home from school on an evening via public transport. Currently, there is no return service from Bradwell to Belton that her teenagers can access when school finishes at 3pm. Photo: Ella Wilkinson/Ruth Hogan

Ella Wilkinson/Ruth Hogan

First Bus has promised to discuss a parent’s petition asking for a bus link between a Norfolk village and a high school - with children facing an hour’s walk home.

Ruth Hogan, who lives in Belton, started the petition to First Bus which now has over 200 signatures. She said she has been contacting the company and council 'on and off for two years' to almost no avail. Photo: Ruth HoganRuth Hogan, who lives in Belton, started the petition to First Bus which now has over 200 signatures. She said she has been contacting the company and council 'on and off for two years' to almost no avail. Photo: Ruth Hogan

Ruth Hogan, 40, set up the petition which has more than 200 signatures.

She lives at Crofters Walk, Belton and says her life is made “incredibly inconvenient” by the fact that there is no bus route to Lynn Grove High School - even though Belton is one of its catchment areas.

She said: “There is a number 6B Bus that goes from Belton to Bradwell in the morning, but no return service until 8.45pm.

“It’s 2.7 miles from Bradwell to Belton - which would take about an hour on foot.

Lynn Grove High School, Gorleston.Lynn Grove High School, Gorleston.

“I’m not comfortable with my 11-year-old, or even my 13-year-old, making that journey. There’s two busy main roads.

“We’re not asking for a free service. We want to pay: we just need a bus to pay for.”

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MP Brandon Lewis has also written to the bus company to highlight the issue.

Chris Speed, head of operations at First Eastern Counties, Picture: DENISE BRADLEYChris Speed, head of operations at First Eastern Counties, Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

According to First Bus, it is Norfolk County Council which determines the route for financially-supported school services.

Chris Speed, head of operations at First Eastern Counties, said: “We welcome feedback relating to the bus service network we operate, however services need to be practical, sustainable and serve the majority where demand is prevalent.

“In the areas/schools mentioned we don’t run any commercially-operated services but we do run financially-supported school services on behalf of Norfolk County Council where they determine the route and conditions.

“As the request has gained some momentum, we will discuss the service with the council to see if there’s any chance of amending the contract.”

The council said it works to national legislation for walking distance, which is up to three miles if pupils are aged between 8 to 16.

A spokesperson said: “The distance here falls outside that national criteria to provide transport. The petition is addressed to First so it is for them to formally respond.”

Ms Hogan said: “If we keep making a fuss, something will have to be done. All Belton parents feel the same way.”

Sign the petition at: https://www.change.org/p/first-bus-bus-service-between-belton-and-lynn-grove


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