DCSIMG

Planned school bus cash savings ‘a mockery’

Sue & Perran Moon of the Oxfordshire School Bus Action Group (OSBAG).

Sue & Perran Moon of the Oxfordshire School Bus Action Group (OSBAG).

Campaigners against changes to school bus services have described Oxfordshire County Council’s (OCC) estimated savings as ‘duff information’.

Sue Moon, co-ordinator of Oxfordshire Schools Bus Action Group (OSBAG), said examination of claims that restricting transport to the school closest to a pupil’s home would save £1m-£2m suggests the figures are ‘a mockery’.

“OCC’s single objective is to save money. Our forensic analysis makes a mockery of the claims,” she said.

“Serious questions should now be asked of the competence of the officers providing this duff information to councillors.

“Their claims are flawed on many levels and it’s time for council leader Ian Hudspeth to get a grip and call time on this fiasco of a consultation.”

The changes could see free school buses removed for those who wish to attend primary schools more than two miles from home and secondary schools more than three miles away – a move Mrs Moon believes would amount to changing school catchment areas.

OSBAG believes calculations have been ‘guessed’ and costs for new buses and routes have been ignored. They say parents will be forced into an admissions lottery and the cuts would cause problems for working families and increased traffic congestion.

A public consultation meeting on the proposals will be held this evening (Thursday) at the Warriner School, Bloxham at 7pm.

Owen Morton of Oxfordshire County Council said: “If people have feedback to give, we would urge them to respond to the online consultation.

“Our calculations are based on analysis of the best available information and these figures are available to view on our website. As we have said before, the exact savings would depend on the pattern of parental choices made following any change to the policy.

“Anyone who would like to find out more or discuss the proposals directly with our officers is encouraged to attend one of the remaining public meetings.”

 

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