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Bus cuts mean Hove pupils face three-bus journey to school
Youngsters have to catch up to three buses in the morning on the way to school – in a journey that lasts 70 minutes.
As it looks to combat Government cuts, Brighton and Hove City Council has reduced its spending on routes across the city. Hundreds of children have been affected by the changes.
One of the most affected routes is the 52 – which used to run from Woodingdean and Ovingdean to Brighton Station via the Royal Sussex County Hospital – and had an extended run in the mornings to take children to schools in Hove.
The revised shortened route, from Ovingdean to Brighton Marina , means youngsters have to change buses at least once – either in the Marina, on the seafront or the city centre.
Sarah Denham’s 16-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter used the 52 as a direct route to Cardinal Newman School in The Upper Drive, Hove.
Mrs Denham, of Cowley Drive, Woodingdean, said: “They leave at 7.30am and arrive just in time for school at 8.40am. Yesterday was the first day and the bus driver didn’t seem to know the route so they had to run down the hill to make sure they caught it.
“I wouldn’t say the direct bus was the only reason for choosing the school but it was a consideration.
“I understand the arguments about money but they could have mapped out the options before they made the decision.”
The move also affects dozens of children who live in the Seven Dials area of Brighton who attend Blatchington Mill School in Nevill Avenue, Hove.
Dr James Kilmartin, acting headteacher of Cardinal Newman, said: “We were only alerted to these changes at the start of term.
“Obviously some families may be able to make acceptable alternative arrangements but others will really struggle.
“We have not been consulted directly about any of these changes.”
Mr Kilmartin said the school had particular concern about the safety of children changing buses at the stop near Roedean School.
In a message sent to parents, Ruth King, deputy headteacher at Blatchington Mill, said: “We have expressed our concern regarding this to the bus company and you may wish to do the same.
“Concerns could also be addressed to local councillors.”
Difficult decision A council spokeswoman said: “This has been a difficult decision, and we appreciate there will be inconvenience for passengers, but with limited funds available we have had to take into account all services in deciding which routes to subsidise.
“There has been widespread coverage of the review in the media, but we were not able to officially notify the school until the contract was awarded this summer and we have apologised to them for not being able to inform them earlier.
“All other subsidised bus routes in the city will continue to operate or will be run on a commercial basis.”
l Has your child been affected? Tell us by calling Tim Ridgway on 01273 544527 or emailing tim.ridgway @theargus.co.uk