New Runnymede school transport initiative confirmed by councillors
A new secondary school transport service will be created in Runnymede to support hundreds of local families to get their children to and from lessons every day.
At this week's Full Council meeting, councillors voted to set up a new bus service tailored to the needs of pupils and schools, to replace the old yellow buses.
Cllr Iftikhar Chaudhri, Chair of the Council's Community Services Committee, said it would be valuable to families and make a substantial impact on their lives.
This new service will:
- Be valuable to parents to get children to school safely,
- Contribute towards the Council's green agenda and reduce congestion by cutting the number of cars on the roads at peak times.
Preparing a modern service
The new service will be launched in April next year - in the intervening time Council staff will arrange to lease seven buses, recruit drivers, plan routes, set up better online payment options and work with schools to promote the new service.
The launch will also mean the Council's existing Community Transport Service can be expanded. The new vehicles will be used throughout the day while pupils are at school. Once Coronavirus restrictions have passed, they will be available to transport people to day centres and other activities.
Speaking after the meeting, Council Leader Nick Prescot said: "Our school transport initiative will run brand new buses and better meet pupils' needs, with new routes and stops that serve them and their schools well. We'll also bring in a wider range of ways to pay which will be more affordable, to make life easier for families.
"I'm very pleased to say as well as serving the four schools the old system supported, our new buses will also work with Chertsey High School, potentially helping many more local children and teenagers."
Supporting local people
Cllr Prescot added: "Supporting local people is an absolutely vital part of our work as a local council and when many parents face concerning times because of Coronavirus, I'm pleased we're able to create a new bus service to provide clarity about how children can get to school."
A Council spokesman said it was regrettable the new service could not start sooner, but that it was important to get the set up right for the long term and meet the commitment to an April 2021 launch. Attempting to launch sooner could result in delay at short notice and confusion if external factors held up the process.
Local council adding value
Surrey County Council has a legal responsibility to provide school transport for pupils who meet its criteria; the new Runnymede buses are an optional service which local borough councillors have chosen to provide.