Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Missing children search after bus blunder

school bus Image copyright Getty Images

A mother is demanding answers after her two young school children were left by the side of a busy road after being dropped at the wrong bus stop.

Annie Buist said her six-year-old daughter and five-year-old son had been left traumatised after they were dropped two miles from their stop.

The children were later found by police after being helped by a fellow pupil.

Fife Council described the incident as "worrying" and said it had amended its practices as a result.

Mrs Buist, from Cardenden, said she received an "awful phone call" at work from the children's school to say they were missing and that the police had been called.

'Frantically trying'

She was told they were not on the school bus and had not been collected from their usual bus stop by their waiting grandparents.

It later emerged that her son and daughter had been mistakenly dropped by the Stagecoach driver in the Dundonald area, two miles away.

Mrs Buist said: "My son was screaming by the side of a main road whilst my daughter was frantically trying to wave down drivers in passing cars to help her.

"Thankfully a seven-year-old boy persuaded them not to walk and took them to his grandparents' house where, after a series of conversations, they were then passed to the police at the bus stop, where they should have got off."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Mrs Buist said the children were dropped in the Dundonald area, two miles from their stop

Mrs Buist told the BBC Scotland news website that since the incident on 17 January, her children had been unwilling to take the bus home from school and had been unable to talk about it.

She said: "Since the incident my children have not settled in school, are having nightmares and are constantly worried.

"I need answers as to why this happened. I have been told that the same thing happened again with another pupil on Monday.

"Something is not right and the education department needs to raise awareness so that the children know what protocol is in place if it does."

'Interim measure'

Education officer with Fife Council Rona Maclean-Ross said: "This was a worrying incident and we want to ensure that both the council and the bus company learn from this.

"As a result, an amended bus driver checklist for all pupils boarding the school bus is now being filled out by the school to confirm children's drop off points for the driver, in an additional attempt to ensure they do not miss any stops on their route.

"Stagecoach has also confirmed that, as an interim measure, their drivers will stop at every bus stop on this particular route until we are satisfied that the check list is shown to work effectively.

"We appreciate the feedback we have had from parents following the incident."

David Frenz, operations director for Stagecoach East Scotland, said the company was hoping to contact Mrs Buist to reassure her that changes had been put in place.

He added: "We were very concerned when this was brought to our attention and want to make sure that it cannot happen again.

"We have therefore worked with the council to introduce a new process, which will help outline to our driver the pupils who are due to alight at each stop, and we are pleased that the council is contacting pupils to give them advice around travelling on the school bus."

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