Primary school children standing on a bus is not a safety concern, bus chiefs have insisted.
Roxanne Solway has raised her concern about crowding on the Laxey School bus service several times over the last few months, after Bus Vannin changed the bus from a double decker to a single decker.
Her seven-year-old daughter Keira travels to New Road on the bus – the public number 3 service from Ramsey to Laxey – each day and is one of a number of children who have to stand when they get on.
‘It’s a nightmare coming home. She’s bruised and pushed about on the bus,’ she said. ‘She gets off the bus every day almost in tears.’
Roxanne said Keira had no problems going to school on the bus but it was the return journey that was a problem because by the time the bus arrives at the school there isn’t enough seats left for all of the children.
‘Adults standing on the bus is one thing but is it really okay for under 10s to be standing on the bus?’ she said.
Bus Vannin director of transport services Ian Longworth said a single decker bus with 41 seats was allocated following a reduction in passenger numbers. He said that by the time the bus leaves the 20mph limit, everyone has a seat.
‘Small children standing on a bus is not a safety issue while going up stairs on a moving double decker is,’ he said.
‘Children tend to crowd at the front of the bus and do not go further back to take a seat and we would ask for parental support to explain to their child how to use a bus safely. Any injury is to be regretted and should be reported to the driver at the time.’
He said they would continue to monitor the school service, but added: ‘We cannot provide additional capacity especially on bad weather days, when we see the heaviest loading, for some pupils to travel one or two stops.
‘If crowding is an issue we would consider introducing a first stop policy after Laxey School beyond the 20mph limit and so not pick up those children who live closest to the school.
‘For instance, on occasions several children alight at Ard Reayrt – the first stop after Laxey School – plus at Ham and Egg Terrace and Laxey station. If we implemented a first stop of Fairy Cottage for school children this would reduce the loading considerably.’