Father concerned for daughter's safety on board '˜overcrowded' school bus

A father has said he is concerned for his daughter's safety as she has to travel to school on an '˜overcrowded bus'.

Monday, 18th September 2017, 6:16 pm
Updated Monday, 18th September 2017, 6:17 pm
A broken windscreen on a Compass Travel school bus. Picture: Leah Keiley

Kevin Keiley, 54, from Shelley Road, Worthing, claims his daughter 18-year-old daughter Leah – who is studying for her A-levels at Steyning Grammar School – has been forced to stand, or sit on the stairs, on her way to school on board a Compass Travel double-decker bus.

He said: “My daughter gets on the bus at East Worthing so she can usually find a seat in the morning, but there have been times where she has had to stand.
“The bus looks to be overcrowded with a number of students being forced to stand or even stand on the stairs.

“There doesn’t seem to be much concern for the safety of these children and I am just worried about what might happen if this bus was to crash.

A broken windscreen on a Compass Travel school bus. Picture: Leah Keiley

“I don’t want this to be a vendetta against Compass but I am getting concerned for Leah’s safety at the moment.”

Last week, the top windscreen of the double decker bus was broken by a low hanging branch near Washington, according to Mr Keiley’s daughter Leah.

She said: “This is the second time this week that the top windscreen has been broken and when I told the driver he mainly just shrugged and shook his head like it’s okay.

“Myself (I was in the second row) and other children all found shards of glass on our clothes and unlike the other driver he did not evacuate the front seats.”

A broken windscreen on a Compass Travel school bus. Picture: Leah Keiley

After receiving reports of parental concerns Joanne Buroughs, business manager at Steyning Grammar School in Shooting Field, said the school was ‘investigating’.

She added: “At Steyning Grammar School, the health and safety of our students is of upmost importance.

“As you have highlighted, the route from East Worthing is operated by Compass Travel as a public service route.

“In the light of your email, we are currently investigating the concern raised with Compass.”

Chris Chatfield, managing director of Compass Travel, said: “The 743 bus is an ordinary registered bus route to Steyning and obviously all buses can quite legally and safely carry standing passengers and there is certainly no problem with the service being overloaded.

“In this case the double decker on this route can carry up to 19 standing passengers – but these must all be on the lower deck. Standing is not permitted on the upper deck or stairs and both the school and the driver do their best to enforce this but in future any pupils who flout the rules will be banned from using the bus.

“There was a problem last week with an overhanging tree in Washington village damaging a window on the bus and the drivers have now been instructed not to use this route in the afternoons but to use the main A24.

“The windows are all toughened safety glass, which remains in situ, so there is no risk of any injury to passengers. We have reported this to WSCC and asked them to urgently cut back the offending tree.

“The safety of our passengers is obviously our highest priority and we are dealing with the points that have been raised.”