The cancellation of the 360 degree bus service by the West Midlands Combined Authority will make it harder for children to get to and from the Westwood Academy. That’s according to angry parents living in Eastern Green. Critics say the replacement for the 360° bus service, the number 43, doesn’t provide an adequate service around school start and finish times.
Pupils typically finish their day at 3.10 p.m. yet the bus service departs Westwood Academy at 3.18 p.m. leaving students just eight minutes to scramble for busses after lessons. With up to 90 students of the Westwood Academy living in the CV5 postcode area many children could be forced to wait an hour for the next bus or face a long walk home.
Introduced in 2013, the Combined Authority decided not to maintain the 360° service citing concerns over cost and value for money. The service made its final journey on 22nd July and was replaced by three new services, also operated by Mike DeCourcey, the following day.
The parents want the Combined Authority, known to many as ‘Greater Birmingham’ to think again. They want to see a new proposal that’s more in line with the school day. They’ve also received the backing of councillors representing Woodlands Ward.
Commenting on the situation Cllr Peter Male said; ‘I’ve been contacted by a number of parents who are worried that the number 43 bus service, set up to replace the 360° bus service, doesn’t provide an adequate service at school start and finish times. With children returning to school in September we’re calling for an urgent review of these arrangements. Why should these children face an unsafe and uncertain start to the new school term as a result of a decision made by someone sitting in Birmingham?’
Fellow Woodlands councillor, Cllr Julia Lepoidevin said; ‘As a Mother, I’m worried about the impact this situation could have on children who are dependent on this service to get to school. We think it’s time for the Combined Authority and Travel De Courcey to think again and come up with a timetable that works for pupils travelling to and from the school. Would the people who’ve made these decisions want their children to be put in this situation?’
Also supporting the campaign Cllr Gary Ridley said; ‘This situation is unacceptable because it will result in children either waiting for an hour to use the bus or walking a long distance to get home. It’s deeply worrying now but it won’t be long before the nights draw in. Is that really what we want for our children? We were told that signing up to the so-called ‘Greater Birmingham’ authority would help Coventry, yet one of their first decisions was to cancel this valuable bus service. How is this decision improving life for people living in Coventry?’