‘Minimal’ time left to ensure appropriate school transport is available, CPT director warns

Local authorities and bus operators have very little time to implement changes to school buses, a transport boss has warned

As part of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement that schools will reopen from August 11, a range of safety guidelines were outlined for school and public transport.

While pupils will not have to socially distance, councils are expected to decide whether children will have to sit in family or classroom groups on designated school buses.

Decisions are also expected to be made on children travelling to school by public transport.

With schools due back in under two weeks the time left to define and secure appropriate transport is minimal.”

Paul White, Director of CPT Scotland.

The Scottish Government’s Covid-19 advisory sub-group on education and children’s issues advised pupils may have to travel in “dedicated zones” on public transport, in an effort to contain the mix with the wider public.

Paul White, director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport Scotland, said the announcement now allows decisions to be finalised.

However he warned there was “minimal” time to secure appropriate transport.

He said: “The announcement of the full-time return to schools and the publication of related guidance enables local authorities and bus and coach operators to work together to ensure sufficient and safe home to school transport is in place for those children that require it.

“With schools due back in under two weeks the time left to define and secure appropriate transport is minimal.

Back to school: Will there be restrictions for pupils travelling on public transport and school buses?

“However, CPT and our operator members will continue to engage nationally and locally to deliver safe and reliable transport links.”

School transport providers across Tayside and Fife, Stagecoach East Scotland, Bay Travel, based in Cowdenbeath, and Wisharts of Friockheim, confirmed they will be working with councils to implement measures.

A spokesperson for Stagecoach East Scotland said: “After today’s announcement from the Scottish Government, we’re working closely with local authorities across the East of Scotland to ensure a smooth and safe operation of school services. This will include a substantial number of buses with suitable capacities to transport children returning to education next month.”

Bay Travel said they expect to discuss the plans with Fife Council in the coming days.

Perth & Kinross – The Courier