‘Late’ Bedford school bus to get new operator

Souls Coaches has handed in its notice on the contract to ferry kids to Holywell Middle School
Souls Coaches has handed in its notice on the contract to ferry kids to Holywell Middle School

A school bus service that was ‘constantly’ dropping off kids late will be run by a different company from Monday.

Souls Coaches had taken on the H52 service which collects children from Wootton to transport them to Holywell Middle School in Cranfield.

Children were often late turning up to Holywell Middle School in Cranfield

Children were often late turning up to Holywell Middle School in Cranfield

But problems started on the first day of term when children were picked up an hour late, and were then taken to the wrong school.

One concerned parent said: “The service has been atrocious since Souls took over the contract this school year.

“It didn’t get off to a good start with the bus turning up an hour late on the first day due to “human error”, but I could reluctantly accept that as it was a new contract.

“However since that date the punctuality of the service has been appalling. As well as being nearly 30 minutes late on Thursday last week, there have been several occasions where my children have arrived after their classes have gone to their first lesson and missed registration, which would mean the bus must have been 15 minutes late at least.

“It has also meant I have been late to work as I dare not set off to my office at the moment before I know they have been picked up safely. I understand they are allowed to return home at a certain point if the bus is a certain period of time late, but that is hardly helpful to their education and I do not want two young children in the house all day alone if I have already left for work.”

But those parents will hope that from Monday things will be back to normal, as the old operators Herberts Travel have taken the service back on, having only been replaced by Souls in running the service for the start of this school year.

Andrew Kerwick-Chrisp, general manager of Souls Coaches - which is based in Olney - said: “We took on the Holywell Middle School service anticipating that it would work with our current structure.

“It is with greatest regret that is has been untenable for us to operate. We had hoped that a change in pickup locations would help solve our dilemma but unfortunately the change was not possible.

“As such we have given notice on the contract and will not be operating the service from Monday.”

A Bedford Borough Council spokesman added: “From Monday October 9, school transport from Wootton to Holywell Middle School will be provided by Herberts Travel as a result of Souls Coaches handing in their contract to operate the route.

“All details and times will remain the same and parents have been sent letters with the new operators details.”