ANGRY parents from Weymouth and Portland have criticised the borough’s bus service.
The regular customers claim that the ‘unreliable’ service provided by First is making their children late for school.
They have hit out against the ‘expensive’ fares of the company’s school and public transport services which, they claim, ‘never arrive on time’.
Jackie Isbell, of Sussex Road, blames the First service for making three of her children late for school and college. She claims she could now face court action and a £1,000 fine if her two children continue to turn up late to The Wey Valley School.
It comes as part of Dorset County Council’s fast track policy which aims to deal with absence from schools which could lead to legal action.
Mrs Isbell, 44, said: “It costs me around £60 a month in bus fare to get my children to school and college.
“The school bus turns up 40 minutes late and other buses they could get never arrive on time. I am forced to dish out so much money on taxi services because of this. My son and daughter are being monitored under the fast track policy and I could get a £1,000 fine.
“This problem has been ongoing since last term.”
The mum-of-four has since created a Facebook group, named First Buses Weymouth Complaints, which attracted almost 200 members within two days. Scores of bus customers have posted their complaints on to the site.
She added: “The service has not been good enough for two and a half years. We want a reliable timetable with buses that don’t break down. So many people have posted their bad experiences on the Facebook page, the company need to address these issues.”
Mark Videan, aged 48, of Chickerell Road, said his daughter Keira, eight, was often late to Bincombe Valley Primary school.
He said: “I pay £100 a month on daily fares for me and my daughter. She is late for school a lot because of late buses and they are so expensive.”
Tracey Puckett, 30, travels from Portland each day to take her four children to Weymouth schools.
She said: “I wait 50 minutes every day to get on a bus that should come every ten minutes. It makes my children late for school which is unfair.”
Karen Stone, aged 45, of Littlemoor Road, said: “I’ve spent hours waiting and been late for work many times.”
Policy on class absence
DORSET County Council aims to tackle both late arrivals and absence by pupils at schools.
A spokesman said: “The Department for Education’s (DfE) view is that unnecessary absence is unacceptable, and must be prevented and tackled by schools.
“The DfE therefore expects all schools and local authorities to focus on reducing overall absence – particularly unauthorised and persistent absence.
“We therefore fully support the DfE’s expectations, and Dorset schools have a range of programmes that work with families and pupils on improving attendance.”