Council performs U-turn over axing of passenger transport assistants

CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating the announcement that all passenger transport assistants will be re-instated on school buses throughout the county.

Members of the Save our School Bus Passenger Transport Assistants group had set up a petition against Warwickshire County Council’s decision to axe the chaperones as a money saving measure, and almost 7,000 people backed the campaign.

A statement made by the council said: “The leader of Warwickshire County Council, Cllr Alan Farnell (Con, Nuneaton Weddington), has announced that his group will be reinstating passenger transport assistants on all buses to primary schools across the county.

“Passenger transport assistants were scheduled to be removed from buses,coaches and taxis conveying pupil to mainstream primary schools as part of a £1.4million savings programme for school transport.

“However, research has indicated that the savings package has been made elsewhere through measures such as a robust tendering process using e-auctions resulting in lower operational prices.

“The Group has also recognised the concerns expressed by local members,parents, schools and governors in making the decision.”

Cllr Heather Timms (Con, Earl Craven), the county councillor responsible for policy on children, young people and families, added: “The council has been able to meet the £1.4 million it identified as a necessary saving from the school transport programme through other measures, so we are willing to acknowledge the concerns of parents and schools and reverse this decision.”

Alistair Ross of the campaign group, has thanked all those who supported the petition.

He added: “The council has put its spin on it, claiming to have found the savings from another source, but we believe they have acted now, rather than face a humiliating defeat at the planned debate on February 19.”