'Unprecedented crisis’ over school bus drivers
- Credit: Stagecoach
An "unprecedented crisis” faces Cambridgeshire schools and colleges in transporting students by buses or taxis.
The county council described the situation as such as it asked for all parents to be patient as it works “tirelessly to minimise the impact of driver shortages on school routes”.
The council says this is due “to the unprecedented crisis taking place nationally”.
For now, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire Council believe they are able to fulfil all agreed arrangements.
“But this could change in the coming weeks,” said a county council spokesperson.
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“There are also delays for new arrangements due to a lack of bids from transport operators, many of whom are struggling through a shortage of drivers”
Both councils are working on contingency plans should the problem escalate, including the potential for double runs on buses.
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It is the council’s policy for transport to be provided for free for pupils travelling more than two miles to their designated primary school, or more than three miles to their designated secondary school. Many pupils with special educational needs, and children in care, are also eligible and require additional support, so need passenger assistants when travelling. However, operators are also having difficulties in recruiting assistants.
Cllr Bryony Goodliffe, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People Committee, said: “I understand this is an anxious time for parents and carers
“I want to reassure them we are doing everything we can to fulfil our transport duties during this unprecedented national shortage of drivers.
“I would urge everyone to be patient as we will make sure that every child is given transport to their educational setting, even if there is some disruption.”