Chiefs in u-turn on school bus service

The Bolton News: Children are pleased to see the bus arrive in Folds Road, Ringley Children are pleased to see the bus arrive in Folds Road, Ringley

PARENTS are celebrating a “fantastic result” after transport chiefs caved in to demands to supply an afternoon bus service for schoolchildren in Ringley and Stoneclough.

Concerns were raised by parents of Bury Church pupils that their children were being left “vulnerable” because the 712 Rossendale service ran only in the mornings.

Instead, about 50 pupils at the school were being forced to catch the crowded 512 service from Bury Interchange, which also caters for Bury College students.

Often the pupils, some as young as 11, were unable to board the bus and forced to wait for half an hour in the dark in the centre of Bury for the next one. Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) initially said it did not have a spare vehicle to extend the 712 service and insisted that the 512 public service from Bury Interchange was not overloaded. But TfGM has now agreed to extend the service in the new year, meaning pupils will have a door-to-door journey home from January 6.

The service, which will run from Bury Church to Ringley from the start of the spring term, was the result of negotiations between TfGM and Rossendale Transport.

Howard Hartley, at Transport for Greater Manchester, said: “There is increasing pressure on our school services budget so I’m pleased we have been able to reach a solution with Rossendale Transport by using an existing school bus at no additional cost to us.

“We’re introducing the service at the earliest possible date at the start of the new school term.” Delia Cottam, aged 46, whose son William travels from Stoneclough to Bury Church each day, said: “This is a fantastic result for the Ringley parents which will give us much greater peace of mind.

“The school and the police were very supportive and I hope the transport company is true to its word.

“It was very worrying, with it getting dark so early in the evenings, that our children may have been wandering through Bury with half an hour to spare.”

The new 712 service will pick up on Manchester Road on the side of the school at 3.58pm, travelling via Angouleme Way, Knowsley Street and Manchester Road.

It will continue its journey along the 512 bus route to arrive at Hulme Road at 4.26pm and finish at Stoneclough Road, Bolton Road junction at 4.30pm.

The service will depart at 2.35pm on Fridays to meet the early school finish, reaching Hulme Road at 3.03pm and Stoneclough Road at 3.07pm.

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