A PENSIONER said that a constantly overcrowded bus service has had her great-grandchildren tell them they can’t ride during the morning school run.
Great-grandmother Maggie Honess says she can’t afford to continue paying cab fares or contacting family members to pick up her great-grandchildren, after the X11 is often too much full to let them go up.
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Ms Honess, 70, said her great-grandchildren, Layla, 10, and Ava, nine, usually rode the X11 at their stop at Symonds Court, Charminster, before making the 3-year journey. , 5 miles to St Osmund School, but she said they were told on several occasions that the bus was ‘too full’.
Ms Honess, who lives in Symonds Court, said: ‘They have been using the bus service since school started earlier this month, but more often than not the bus driver has told them they are not allowed to go up because it is too full.
“It wasn’t a problem last year, but it looks like there are a lot more students from St Osmund’s and Thomas Hardye School riding the X11.
“I have to pay cab fares to get my g to school – or rely on other family members to drive from Dorchester to Charminster to pick them up. It’s not fair and cannot continue.
“If they don’t go to school because of this inadequate service, then the parents are fined.”
Ms Honess, along with her granddaughter Danielle Puncher, 29, who is the mother of Layla and Ava, both said they would like to see another bus service provided.
“My granddaughter Danielle is a caregiver and she’s getting more and more frustrated,” Ms. Honess said.
“It’s stressful having to work without knowing if your children are going to work safely.
“Even for children who can get on the bus, some smaller children are forced to stand on their way to school on a crowded, swaying bus – it’s not safe for them.”
The X11 is managed by the privately held South West Coaches, which has signed a contract with the Dorset Council.
A spokesperson for Dorset Council said: “When we order school transport, we stipulate the number of seats needed to transport children to school.
“We are working with South West Coaches to make sure they are using the right size vehicle.
“We are investigating allegations that the X11 is overcrowded.
“There are reports that a number of children from St Osmund School have stopped using the bus due to the inability to charge. However, we only have one child from St Osmund which should be on the X11. ”