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Mother asks Royal Borough to help fund school minibus for 16 pupils

A mother is appealing to the Royal Borough to contribute to the cost of a school minibus for 16 pupils.

Gina Walter, of  Tithe Barn Drive, Bray, has two children who attend Cox Green School, Highfield Lane.

Her younger daughter Eleanor, who started at the school this month, is one of 22 children who were not given a place on the White Bus service, which seats 70.

Out of the 22 without places, six have since found alternative arrangements.

Eleanor is sharing a taxi to and from school with two other pupils, and the other families are doing the same or have arranged car shares and changed their working patterns.

Achieving for Children (AfC) has advised children take public transport departing the Windsor Road at 7.15am.

Gina said: “This is exhausting and inappropriate for a child first thing in the day, and no child of this age should be waiting in the cen-tre of Maidenhead for buses on dark winter mornings.”

On behalf of other parents Gina has asked the Royal Borough and AfC to support them in organising a minibus. She has found a bus that would run the service for the rest of the school year for about £23,000 – equating to roughly £8 per child each day.

Gina believes if there had been a space with the White Bus that she would pay for a concessionary pass and is suggesting parents and the Royal Borough share the cost of the minibus.

“Given the budget RBWM has we feel that £12,000 to get these children to school is an appropriate allocation of funds and contribution towards concessionary school transport fares,” she said.

In addition, Gina and the other parents aim to campaign for all children within the Bray Parish to be entitled to free school transport to Cox Green. In 2017 it became policy that only children in Holyport are entitled to a free bus pass.

A spokesman from the Royal Borough said that AfC buys bus passes for White Bus and the alternate option, Courtney Bus, at the commercial rates which are allocated based on eligibility.

He said: “It is White Bus’ decision whether or not to increase the capacity on the route and AfC does not subsidise either the White Bus or Courtney Bus service.

“There is a concession in place for residents of Holyport [village] who require travel to Cox Green, and this is under review.”

White Bus’ director Simon Rowland said there is not the demand to operate a second vehicle.

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