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Pupils left at school gates in “round pound” bus fare fiasco

Thomas Cowley High School pupils weren't allowed to pay bus fares with round pounds. SG171017-105TW
Thomas Cowley High School pupils weren't allowed to pay bus fares with round pounds. SG171017-105TW

Children were left at school gates on Monday when a school bus service refused to accept £1 coins that officially went out of circulation the previous day.

One girl was reportedly given two “round pounds” by a Cropley Coaches driver that morning in her £2.50 change for a £5 note handed over for her bus fare to Donington’s Thomas Cowley High School ... but those same coins were refused by a driver at home time.

The girl was one of at least two pupils who offered to pay the following morning but were told “no”.

Spalding mum Sally Scott accidentally included an “old” £1 coin when she gave son Jack (15) £3 for his bus fare.

Jack was one of several pupils not allowed to board the bus at leaving time and Sally had to go on a 20-mile round trip to pick him up by car.

Sally is a home carer, working with elderly people in their own homes, and said: “If I had already been at work, Jack would not have got home. I can’t just leave my job. It’s not like I work in an office.”

Jack had phoned Sally to say he wasn’t being allowed on the bus and Sally contacted the school reception, where staff offered to lend Jack £1.

Sally said: “By the time I got hold of Jack, he said ‘the bus doors are closing and they are pulling off’.

“I am very cross because Jack even said ‘can I pay extra tomorrow’, which they have allowed before.

“I am absolutely furious. It’s ridiculous because banks still take the old £1 coins.”

Cropley Coaches told us no one was available to comment.

Lincolnshire County Council, which deals with contracts for school bus services, is urging operators to be understanding where children are involved and will contact Cropley’s to find out what happened.

Meanwhile school head teacher Ian Dawson has pledged that his pupils will never be “stranded”.

Mr Dawson told us: “We will of course look into any issue and work with all interested parties to find a positive solution.

“We have a duty of care and students will never be left stranded at school unable to get home whatever the circumstance.”

A county council spokesman said: “We shall be contacting Cropley Coaches to ascertain the relevant facts. We encourage all of our bus operators to be understanding, especially when it involves the carriage of schoolchildren.”

Fosdyke-based Cropley Coaches were under fire last month when a Quadring mum hit out at the doubling of fares when parents weren’t warned at the end of the 2016/17 school year.

Zina Merry said her daughter came home from school after the summer holidays with a slip of paper saying fares would go up from £1 to £2, each way, starting the following day.

In 2011, Jack Scott, then aged 11, and his big brother Ben, then 15, appeared in one of our stories when they were among four pupils asked to leave a Cropley’s school bus at Donington because it was overcrowded ... the company later sent a 4x4 to collect them.

• What do you think? Email lynne.harrison@iliffepublishing.co.uk

Previously ...

Brothers left standing by driver as no room on coach

Quadring mum hits out at sharp fares rise for school buses

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