Parents have raised concerns after a bus service that takes pupils to and from a school has been so full that some have been forced to walk.

Running through Breightmet, Harwood and Bradshaw, the 926 bus service provides transport to Turton School for its pupils.

However, both parents and the school have recently raised issues with the service, saying that the buses have been very full, leaving some pupils to walk.

In a letter, a school spokesperson said: "Since the start of the year this bus has been very full and I am aware that not all students have been able to get on the bus in the morning or in the afternoon.

"All dedicated school bus services are provided through Transport For Greater Manchester (TfGM) and they decide the number of bus places needed. We have let them know that the bus provided is not sufficient, as we did last year.

"Indeed, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) sent out a member of staff to count the number on the bus each day for a week at the end of September 2022 and felt another bus was not needed as numbers had reduced by then. And yet the situation is the same, if not worse, this year.

"Last week we prioritised afternoon places for year 7 and 8 students, but this is not a long term solution."

TfGM have also suggested to parents for their children to catch two buses for each journey getting to and from school.

Vivian Savage is the grandmother of a student who has just started at Turton School.

The Bolton News: A Bee Network busA Bee Network bus (Image: Newsquest)

She said: "There used to be four buses that went to school for the children. It went down to two, and now it is one, so that one bus is full all the time.

"My grandchild is having to walk back home from the school as the buses are riding past, saying they're full.

"They are contracted to be doing the work, the service is not fit for purpose. Parents are going mad.

"You will always get problems, the driver doesn't turn up because he is ill, people understand that when it happens sometimes. But the children have been through the pandemic and now they have to deal with the anxiety of getting to school."

Vice-headteacher at Turton School, Cathy Bach, said: "It is about getting our children to and from school safely.

"We have been in regular contact with TfGM, they are monitoring those getting on at every stop, they are aware it is a busy service.

"When we have reports from parents where pupils can and can't get on, we are passing those on to TfGM. We will keep a dialogue open with them."

She added: "TfGM have suggested alternatives. We are aware there is a greater cost when you have to get two buses, not one. I have got information often from parents who are concerned about increased cost.

The Bolton News: Turton SchoolTurton School

"We have heard of parents having to change their working days, fitting dropping their children off around the working days.

"There has been a bus suggested early in the morning, 7.15am and arriving at 8.25am at the school, but there was a second alternative, a 7.50am bus from the White Horse which gets to the school at 8.30am.

"I do think, and we had the same last year, two bus services of the 926 would allow an easier journey, but I do understand there are alternative public services."

Jenny Hall, a mother at the school, said: "I am very disappointed in the response from TfGM. Unfortunately if I had known the issues with the school buses this would have impacted the school choices made.

"Turton School is the best school for my son and his needs but the bus situation is impacting me working. I left Turton in 2000 and there was four buses doing the Harwood route.

"One bus is ridiculous for the amount of children in the area. That one bus is overcrowded and unsafe to use, children are left stranded with no way to get to school or get home.

One resident said: "My daughter has just started Turton School and I'm extremely appalled at how there is only one bus available. As the weather has been quite nice, she has walked it.

"However, it won't be pleasant doing a 35 minute walk in winter and when it's dark, and I don't think it's acceptable for her to be expected to catch two buses, which the bus company are suggesting.

"Surely, there must be resources for two single buses. What has happened to the welfare of our children?"

Cllr Mudasir Dean of Bradshaw said: "Of the representations I have had from residents, there is a need for two school buses.

"Having just one bus is causing quite serious disruption for students."

TfGM have been approached for a statement.