School transport withdrawn from St Abbs to Coldingham

Colingham Primary pupils catching the bus to St Abbs after Perrymans redicect a service for them
Colingham Primary pupils catching the bus to St Abbs after Perrymans redicect a service for them

For over 20 years Coldingham Primary School pupils who live at St Abbs have been provided with transport between home and school but that all ended abruptly last summer.

Seven St Abbs pupils waiting for the school bus on the first day of the autumn term in August 2013 had a long wait as the bus never turned up. Parents say they were given no notice that the council would no longer be arranging transport and the children went along to the bus stop to find no bus was coming. A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson said: “ St Abbs lies less than two miles from Coldingham Primary School. Pupils are therefore not entitled to statutory home to school transport.

“Prior to August 2013, buses at school times were provided by Travelsure as part of its Duns-Reston-Coldingham-Eyemouth service.

“This service, which ran all year round, was operated under contract to the council and was up for renewal last summer.

“A review of all local bus service contracts was carried out 12 months ago and analysis of passenger data showed little use being made of the journeys provided on this route.

“Following discussions between affected parents, Councillor Michael Cook and Perryman’s Buses, an afternoon journey on the operator’s Berwick-St Abbs service (235) is being diverted via Coldingham Primary School.

“This is a commercial bus service which is not financially supported by SBC, meaning pupils are required to pay.”

Since Borders Regional Council closed St Abbs Primary School in 1992 and pupils transferred to Coldingham Primary School transport has been provided but according to St Abbs parent Euan Gibson: “When the last child at St Abbs left primary school for the high school Scottish Borders Council absolved themselves of any responsibility for transport.”

There wasn’t even a service bus that parents could pay for their children to use so for a whole term they have had to arrange rotas to take the children to school in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon.

Parents will continue to take the children to school in the mornings but Perrymans will pick up the St Abbs children and takes them home - costing parents 80p per child.