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‘Unviable’ Bohunt School bus route axed as company says pupils aren’t using the service

Bohunt School
Pupils at Bohunt School in Arborfield

A SCHOOL BUS has been scrapped after two years, as it’s not “commercially viable”.

The 92, which was used by Bohunt Wokingham pupils, was run by Reading Buses.

It was created to “help out” students travelling in the Finchampstead and Arborfield area, said a company spokesperson.

They said the service usually transports 20 students and has only had a maximum of 30 pupils on board.

“[It’s] nowhere near enough to support the service,” they said.

“We had hoped that as the school itself grew in size, so would the numbers of students using the service from the areas that it runs through, but this has not happened.”

They said getting to school is usually the responsibility of parents and borough council.

“While we have attempted to develop a self-funding commercial service to help out, it was reliant on finding enough people to use it.

“The council is currently exploring options to provide a replacement, similar to the arrangements that were in place before we started running the 92 service.”

They added: “We truly regret having to make any changes and the impact they may have on the students, but cannot continue to operate buses at a loss which could then impact our ability to deliver services for our other customers.

“The only way we can resolve the issue is by highlighting it to the affected school and council.”

Ben Godber, head of the Remount Drive school, said he was hugely disappointed the bus had been scrapped.

He said Bohunt was given little notice, after being told in the penultimate week of term.

Mr Godber said the growing school will be at its biggest in September, and believes many parents will be concerned about the change.

“Many parents now face the distress that their child may now not be able to get a place on the Leopard 3 service which is likely to be heavily overcrowded at school times,” he said. “Sadly, this is not the first time we have had notifications of this sort from Reading Buses, and with the drawing in of nights once the autumn term commences, understandably parents will be very concerned.”

Mr Godber is calling on the company to review the 92 route, if the school opens a sixth form.

“Clearly the removal of the service will add to transport issues locally and lead to more private transport arrangements in this area, adding to congestion,” the head of school added.

“This is damaging to the council’s greener environment ambitions, but more importantly leaves many families, who rely on public transport to get their child safely to school, in a bit of a mess.”

Cllr Charles Margetts, Conservative councillor for Finchampstead North, said the bus cancellation is a real problem.

“It doesn’t help the issues of congestion along the A327,” he said.

It could lead to more parents driving their children to school instead, he feared.

“Buses are more sensible to carry large numbers of children, and teach them independence.”

Cllr Graham Howe, executive member for children’s services said the council is currently tendering for an alternative.

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