A 12-year-old boy with Down’s syndrome was left on a bus in a depot when the company didn’t drop him home after school.
Alex Jones, from Barry, had an arrangement to be taken to and from Ysgol Y Deri School in Penarth from his home in Penarth by CJ Contract Travel Services.
But on January 29, they picked him but didn’t drop him at home – prompting his mum to become frantic with worry.
Mum Victoria, 36, said: “He got on the bus in the morning and went to school. On the way back, he’s supposed to get dropped off around 3.30pm but he didn’t.
“I rang the school about 4pm thinking nothing had happened. Five minutes later they phoned back and said no bus had broken down. The headteacher rang back and said they were doing everything that they can and he’s not at the school.”
The school checked CCTV and saw Alex had boarded the bus, which worried Victoria even more about what had happened to her son.
“I said to the company you’ve lost my son somewhere,” she said. “I sent my husband out after the school said he wasn’t there.”
Alex was eventually found at the bus depot, luckily before it was locked up for the night.
Victoria said: “The school rang again saying they had found him and he had been taken back to the depot and left on the bus. I just broke down. “He’s got Down’s syndrome and been through leukaemia twice. He’s not aware of his surroundings.
“Everything goes through your mind. As a mum you just think the worse. “My panic was where is he if they shut at 5pm. They would have not thought about it.
“When he got bought back I was in tears. It was pure relief.”
Alex now has taxis paid for by the council to take him to and from school. But the incident still alarms Victoria.
She said: “I’m just really disappointed in them. It was a child. Any child is bad enough but a child with special needs is even worse.”
Vale of Glamorgan Council apologised for the incident, saying it was an “an unacceptable failure on the part of the private transport provider”.
They added that the contract with the company had now been terminated and the school was not at fault.
David Davies, Head of Achievement for All, said: “We are very sorry for the impact that this incident has had on the pupil and their family.
“This incident was an unacceptable failure on the part of the private transport provider and their contract for transporting this pupil was terminated with immediate effect.
“An investigation into the incident is now taking place in line with the All Wales Child Protection Procedures and appropriate action will be taken following its conclusion.
“While the investigation is still ongoing it is clear that no fault at all lies with the school, where staff acted swiftly to support the parents as soon as it became apparent that the pupil had not been returned home. Staff at the school are now providing counselling to this individual pupil.
“Enhanced training for all contracted SEN pupil transport providers will be delivered during the next two weeks.”
CJ Contract Travel Services declined to comment.