Parents Outraged as Vital School Bus to Longfield Academy is Abruptly Axed, Leaving Students Stranded

Parents Outraged as Vital School Bus to Longfield Academy is Abruptly Axed, Leaving Students Stranded

Fury as vital school bus to Longfield Academy from Gravesend via Greenhithe is axed

Outraged parents are facing a logistical nightmare after being blindsided by the news that their children’s school bus will no longer be running.

The S1 service, which runs from Gravesend to Longfield Academy via Greenhithe and Swanscombe, will be cancelled from May 3 due to a lack of demand.

Parents of students at Longfield Academy, located on Main Road in Longfield, were shocked to receive a text from the school on April 15 informing them of the cancellation. The proposal to cancel the bus was found on the government’s traffic commissioner’s website, with an appeal date of April 15, which parents were not made aware of.

Sally Starr, whose son Jake has been catching the S1 from Swanscombe since starting at Longfield Academy in Year 7, expressed her frustration at the cancellation.

She explained, “My husband works full time, and I have two younger children to get to school in Swanscombe. I can’t be in two places at once. That bus is the only way for him to get to school. If it stops, he will need to get into Gravesend, which is extremely hard with Galley Hill Road being closed, then get another bus at 7:30 am. I really don’t see how we are going to be able to get him to school.”

Peter Dumont, another parent, shared his disappointment and stress over the situation. “To be told by a single text message from Longfield Academy that our only route to our child’s school has been cancelled has been horrendous,” he said. “Parents have been told there are other services, but none of these serve Swanscombe, Greenhithe, or Stone. The stress it has caused on us and so many others with only three weeks to find alternative arrangements is incomprehensible.”

Nikita Luckins, whose daughter is due to start at Longfield Academy in September, also expressed her concern. “We were going to be relying on the bus to get her home as we can get her there in the mornings,” she said. “I’m just hoping that Kent County Council (KCC) arranges something else.”

Longfield Academy’s principal, Dr. Felix Donkor, has stated that the school will be filing an official complaint over the cancellation.

In response to the backlash, Leigh Academies Trust, which runs the school, has said it will be submitting a formal complaint and actively engaging with KCC and the bus company to find a solution. A spokesperson for the trust also assured parents that alternative transportation options will be identified and implemented for the remainder of the academic year.

Meanwhile, the bus company, Brian Jones Coaches Ltd, has stated that the decision to cancel the route was based on declining passenger numbers and that a change to an existing service is being considered.

A KCC spokesperson has also addressed the issue, stating that the council does not have the funding to provide a direct replacement for the S1 service, but officers will work with the operator to explore alternative arrangements.

The sudden cancellation of the vital school bus has left parents in a state of chaos and has sparked outrage within the community. It remains to be seen if a solution can be reached before the May 3 deadline.

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