School coach service provider accused of breaking promise of guaranteed seats

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A school coach service provider has responded to a parent’s criticism that it has frequently broken its promise to provide seats and seat belts for all children.

Father Jeff Webber, from Burgess Hill, said he pays for his daughter to travel to Warden Park school using a Heritage Coach service.

He said despite the company’s school service timetable advertising ‘guaranteed seat and seat belt’ it has run a single decker service in replacement of a double decker for several month, leaving many children standing.

The coach provider has responded to the concerns by saying it was not illegal for it to substitute alternative vehicles when required.

A spokesman said: “Our terms and conditions allow us to substitute an alternative vehicle for that originally scheduled and this due to a nationwide issue with obtaining MOT slots for larger commercial vehicles which has compounded availability of coaches to be used on this route. It is not illegal on a bus to have seating and standing passengers including children.

“It is County Council policy to use buses as they have this capacity to allow for the peaks and troughs of students who may be travelling only on certain days of the week as the school exams were ongoing and additionally these buses allow for those with disabilities to be carried as they are built to DDA specifications whilst coaches do not have the same facilities due to their design which opens up student travel to more passengers and promotes ‘green alternatives’ instead of using a car.

“The school are aware of the situation and we responded to the school back in the middle of May 2015 and due to the success of the services we run into Warden Park there has been a significant uptake in those using the buses and using a bus allows the fluctuation of passenger numbers without leaving kids behind.”