September 24th, 2016

Focus group study sparks bus cut fear

Updated: 9:35 am, May 07, 2015

A CONCERNED family fear a focus group exercise by the county council could lead to the withdrawal of a vital bus service for their disabled son.

Andrew Marshall’s son Jacob has been using the dedicated transport service for nearly year on his daily trip to Pitcheroak School.

The Garway Close resident says the bus is always full and the family had to wait to join the over-subscribed service.

Now he says the county council exercise, which involves employing a private company to run focus groups in Redditch, Kidderminster and Worcester to canvas users’ views on the service, could spell the end of the service.

“The letter talks about taking up alternatives to traditional transport such as receiving a payment to make your own school transport arrangements, but if they wanted to do that why employ a private company to carry out focus group meetings when they could have just used a letter?” said Mr Marshall.

“We’ve only just managed to secure a place on this bus – and it’s a 30-seater – and there’s always a queue for it because it is always such a good service.”

He added that using public transport was out of the question due to the level of teasing and intimidation children with special educational needs face from other youngsters.

County Councillor Liz Eyre, cabinet member for children and families said: “The focus group is definitely not about removing the service but about understanding the views of current users of travel assistance, their experiences of the current service and to discuss some of the other options available.

“We would like to stress that this exercise will not put the existing service at risk, no one will be required to change their current transport arrangements and the traditional bus remains an option.”

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