Redbourn students still left without ‘safe’ route to school

Redbourn High Street

Redbourn High Street - Credit: Archant

The parent of a student whose bus to school was axed in July has expressed her concern at the lack of a safe route for her son and fellow residents.

The Nickey Line

The Nickey Line - Credit: Archant

Justine Reilly’s son used to take a UNO bus t from his home in Redbourn to Roundwood Park School in Harpenden before the service was stopped at the end of the summer term

Herts County Council (HCC) negotiated with another provider, Centrebus, to organise a replacement service from the village but the change from two double decker buses to single decker buses has left up to 78 children facing a new school term without a bus route.

Justine maintained the buses were full because of the number of season tickets sold and said there was not a safe walking route for the students.

She went on: “The county has said there is a safe walking route which crosses the A5[183]. The route isn’t safe as it’s about two miles of unlit path on the old Nickey Line. From Redbourn to Harpenden the crossing on the A5[183] roundabout junction has no safe or indeed pedestrian crossing access. It’s a farce.”

Justine said she has raised the issue on a number of occasions with HCC and even requested a ‘lollipop’ person to make the crossing safer but no resolution has been reached.

She was ‘hugely affected’ by the issue because she has to be in work by 8am and has no other way of getting her son to school.

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She went on: “There are about 80 kids affected from both Redbourn and Flamstead and no safe walk to school route so the county really are neglecting their moral duty, if not their statutory one.

“HCC say they’re not responsible for the road crossing and have provided a service, which although it is way under capacity, they have met their statutory duty.”

Justine added: “In reality, the county have done nothing to aid the parents and it has in fact been local parents who have been chasing bus companies.”

A spokesman for HCC said that the Nickey Line route was considered safe as there was a ‘good line of sight in all directions’.

David Williams, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We appreciate that it has been an anxious time for some pupils and their families. This is a commercially-operated service and the majority of pupils using this service are not entitled to free home-to-school transport, so we do not provide funding to subsidise the route.

“However, we have been working with parents, the school and bus operators to solve this issue. I’m pleased to say that an operator is interested in supporting Roundwood School with transport for most pupils who are not entitled to free home-to-school transport.”

He added that HCC have given a letter of support for this service to the Traffic Commissioner to try and ‘hasten the route registration’ and hoped it would start in time for the first day of term.

Centrebus did not respond to the Herts Advertiser’s request for a comment.