Oxford

Free school bus between Drayton and Abingdon cut

Parents in an area of Oxfordshire are angry at the decision to cut their children's free school bus.

Oxfordshire County Council said it was changing the service for some children from Drayton to Abingdon as routes on foot from the village are safe.

One parent said the walk takes an hour and includes an "unsafe" narrow and unlit isolated path on a main road.

From January, only children living over three miles (5km) from their school will qualify for the free bus.

Pupils living less than three miles away who want to use the dedicated school buses from the village to the secondary comprehensive schools in Abingdon will have to pay £240 per year.

The three-mile rule implemented by the council by a pupil's postcode means some children in the village will pay for transport and some will not, despite catching the same bus from the same bus stop.

Parent Jacquie Cook said: "It takes an hour. It's not safe for an 11-year-old, it's a narrow and unlit isolated path.

"We're going to be stuck with public transport, or people will end up driving which will cause congestion."

'Irresponsible'

Abingdon schools have also criticised the council's decision to make some parents pay for the service.

Di Mashiter, head teacher at John Mason School, said: "This approval suggests that it is safe to walk the three-mile route along an unlit stretch of rural road is irresponsible to say the least.

In a statement, Oxfordshire County Council said: "The walked routes available within the village of Drayton are safe.

"There are very good footway links and good crossing provision. No accidents involving pedestrians have been reported in the most recent five years on this route."

The three-mile ruling will not apply to families on low incomes who will continue to receive the free transport.

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