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Medway school pupils stranded after Arriva service cut to one bus for Strood to Hundred of Hoo Academy route

Scores of pupils have been left stranded because their school bus service was cut down to a single vehicle after lockdown restrictions were lifted.

Arriva, which operates the 689 route from Strood to the Hoo Peninsula, reduced its two bus school run to one as children return from their summer break.

It has led to the bus filling up to capacity several stops before reaching its destination at Hundred of Hoo Academy, leaving youngsters unable to get on and turning up an hour late for class.

Parents have been left fuming saying more than 40 children were not picked up when the already full bus passed stops en route this morning.

Mum Lauren Porter said her son Makenzie, 12, arrived at the bus stop near the Sans Pareil pub in Wainscott in time for the bus, which arrives just after 8am, both on Friday and this morning(Monday).

She said: "It didn't even stop this morning because after Friday, children had walked a couple of stops before to ensure a place."

Lauren, a Slimming World consultant, was walking her daughter Beau to school so Makenzie was forced to called at a friend's house where a parent drove him to the secondary school in Main Road.

Hundred of Hoo Academy in Hoo where the pupils were supposed to be dropped off. Picture: Google
Hundred of Hoo Academy in Hoo where the pupils were supposed to be dropped off. Picture: Google

Lauren, of Rolvenden Road, Wainscott said: "Makenzie has a bus pass. Arriva are definitely not providing value for money or a proper service.

"Also, the mornings and evening are drawing in and it's not right that children should be left on the pavement when it's getting dark.

"We have been told this a cost-cutting exercise."

Lauren has helped to set up a Facebook page with other parents to lobby the bus company. The 29-stop service runs from Darnley Arches to the academy.

They have also written to Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst.

Another parent Niki Morris tweeted the bus company to complain about the lack of service for children today.

She said: "Such a shame you [Arriva] don’t seem to be able to accommodate all the school children on the S689 service.

"Approximately 40 children this morning left at bus stops as the single service you proved was full. They’ve missed enough in school education without being an hour plus late everyday."

A spokesman for Arriva Southern Counties said: "During the Covid-19 pandemic, Arriva operated two vehicles on the 689 service to meet social distancing requirements for bus travel. With restrictions now lifted, we have reverted back to original bus provisions.

"However, we closely monitor our passenger levels aboard all services, particularly our school services, to ensure minimum instances of overcrowding.

"We are investigating the complaints made about recent school services with the depot."

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