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‘It’s just not working’ - Mother’s frustration as full buses mean 45-minute walk to school with six-year-old son

PUBLISHED: 14:35 09 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:40 09 September 2020

First Bus has advised people to avoid using buses at peak times where possible to allow children get to school. Picture: Google Maps.

First Bus has advised people to avoid using buses at peak times where possible to allow children get to school. Picture: Google Maps.

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A mother-of-two endured a “stressful” morning watching bus after bus drive past before having to walk her six-year-old son 45 minutes to school.

First Bus launched a new fleet of high specification eco buses earlier this year. Picture: Ella WilkinsonFirst Bus launched a new fleet of high specification eco buses earlier this year. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Meanwhile, bus operators are urging people to travel outside peak times where possible to allow children get to lessons, as buses still run at just under half their regular capacity.

Melody Moran, 31, who lives on Beatty Road in Great Yarmouth, normally uses the bus to take her son, Maxi, to Caister Infant and Junior School.

But on both Monday and Tuesday mornings (September 8 and 9) she watched as four buses drove past.

She said: “I can’t drive due to a heart condition and my husband works full time and has very early starts so he cannot drive us either so I rely on the public transport.

First Bus operation manager Chris Speed. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYFirst Bus operation manager Chris Speed. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

“After waiting ages and more and more buses just saying ‘bus full’ on the app we had no choice but to walk from Beatty Road in Great Yarmouth along the main road to Caister.

“I also had my one-year-old son in a pram with me and continued to walk on the opposite side of the road to flag down any buses still that might have space for us but all drove past half empty saying full because of the 50pc capacity limit.”

Ms Moran said she had pre-paid for her tickets on the First Bus app and had to walk instead.

“I don’t mind walking but that route is extremely dangerous with children and takes 45 minutes along a busy main road,” she said.

“I understand that coronavirus is causing huge problems for everyone and the bus company is trying to comply with social distancing rules for public safety but it’s just not working.”

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

Chris Speed, head of operations at First Eastern Counties, said: “Although it may be frustrating, we are advising people where possible to travel outside of the peak times, and urge schools and businesses to be flexible with start and finish times to help us get people to their destination safely.

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“Where we are experiencing higher demand on some services, which was expected but undetermined, we are discussing additional provision where needed with Norfolk County Council to facilitate student travel.”

Mr Speed said the company has added additional buses to its fleet to help manage capacity.

“In addition to the dedicated school buses that have been assigned by the local authority, we are running our normal commercially operated services with many running close to schools and colleges on route to outbound destinations that students can use for travel,” he added.


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