'Shocked' parents say 'overloaded' school bus in Cornwall risks children's safety

Concerns have been raised over one of the buses taking students to Fowey River Academy. Credit: Google

Parents in a Cornish town have voiced concerns about an overloaded school bus which is taking their children to a secondary school several miles away.

The bus transports students to Fowey River Academy, near to St Blazey and Lostwithiel.

There have been more than 50 comments, many from worried parents, on a Lostwithiel community Facebook page after a parent posted their “shock” at discovering the council had issued “more bus passes to students than there are seats on the buses”. 

One parent said this has forced some students to have to stand in the aisle on their way to and from school.  

The parent wrote: “It’s not just a one-off, apparently most of the bus runs to Fowey are oversubscribed in this way.

“This year the bus from Lostwithiel is overloaded every single day, morning and afternoon.

“I’m flabbergasted that Cornwall Council would risk the safety of our children like this. It’s completely unnecessary and inexcusable. 

“They’ve known for at least eight months exactly how many students they’ve enrolled at each school, and what transport provisions that would be required. But between them and the bus company they contract they are failing to provide a safe service.”

Another stated: “Our son has just started in Year 7 and cannot believe the buses are too packed to fit everyone on.”

One said their child had to wait an hour for the bus to come, and that some routes have actually been cancelled last minute.

A parent said: “It’s so dangerous how they think this is safe.”

Cllr Colin Martin, leader of the council’s Liberal Democrats group and ward member for Lostwithiel, said: “If one bus has empty seats, whilst another is overcrowded, it shouldn’t be a difficult problem to fix. I have written to the relevant officer and cabinet member to ask them to sort it ASAP.”

A council spokesperson said: “The council has taken swift action following concerns raised about insufficient capacity on one of its bus routes serving Fowey River Academy. While school bus and taxi networks are carefully planned, there can occasionally be unavoidable issues, particularly at the start of term.

“The council plans routes taking into account the projected number of students requiring travel. But sometimes the actual number is higher than expected, for example where students have moved address during the summer holidays or where applications for seats on the buses have not been made or have been made late. In these situations the council always acts swiftly to resolve the issue, as is the case here.

“The safety of passengers is always paramount and transport providers are instructed never to allow vehicles to become overloaded under any circumstances.”

Credit: Lee Trewhela/Local Democracy Reporting Service