PARENTS and teachers have been left "absolutely appalled" after a school bus service in Barrow was cancelled over the summer holidays without consultation with them.

Pupils at St Bernard's School turned up to catch the 28 bus on the first day of the new year on Tuesday morning but it did not arrive.

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It meant pupils were left stranded by the roadside, with many arriving late for lessons and getting lost along the way.

After enquiries, it has emerged the school service was cancelled by Stagecoach last month due to running cost issues.

Complaint issued

Mary Page, headteacher at St Bernard's School in Rating Lane, says nobody at the school was informed of the decision, with the situation now throwing up some serious child safety issues.

Mrs Page said: "We are absolutely appalled by it and we are in the process of complaining about it. Nobody had a clue.

"We knew nothing about until the first day of term. We have staff on duty at the end of the day to make sure children all get on the buses and we know that the 28 hadn't turned up and put in a call and didn't get a reply.

"It was the second day of school on Wednesday when the children were in when Stagecoach got back to us and said they have taken that bus off.

"Lots of parents have rung us and one child got a different bus and got really upset when they got lost.

"If we were prepared then we could have advised parents and helped."

It's not just St Bernard's School which has been affected as the 28 also stopped at Furness College.

Unexpected disruption

The service operated in term time between North Row in Roose to Ironworks Road, stopping near St Bernard's School.

Marianne Stables' daughter, Abigail Buchanan, and step-daughter, Summer Garratt, were among those to be left waiting in Holbeck, and said parents at St Bernard's School may have based their decision to send their children there due to the then existing travel arrangements.

She said: "It's disgusting. To me there was no consultation.

"This is a service that my children used last year. If there was an intention of scrapping this then they should have mentioned it at the end of term last year.

"My daughter went to me: 'has it been cancelled?' and I said 'they would have told us'.

"Other kids had been waiting and they were late on the first day and it's completely unacceptable.

"This happened again on Wednesday as they still didn't know it had been cancelled."

Stagecoach apology

A spokesman for Stagecoach said: "Unfortunately due to low and reducing passenger numbers we are no longer able to operate the 28 service.

"Customers can still get to the sixth form college and St Bernard's but must go via the town centre using service 4 and changing on to our 21 and 22 services.

"We spoke to the sixth form college, Cumbria County Council and placed notices on our buses informing customers of the change. Unfortunately we did not tell St Bernard’s School and for this we apologise.

"We have already contacted the school to offer our apologies."

More travel advice

- People getting the bus from Holbeck in the morning can catch the service 4 at 8.10am to Furness College, arriving at 8.33am. This service runs Monday to Friday.

- Passengers from South Newbarns can use the service 3 at 8.01am to Ramsdem Square, arriving at 8.19am before transferring onto the service 4 at 8.28am to get to Furness College.

- Children can catch the service 1 in Oxford Street at 8.05am to Ramsden Square, arriving at 8.16am, again transferring onto service 4 at 8.28am.

- Passengers from Croslands Park are advised to walk to catch the service 3 at 8.01am or use the alternative service 6 from Abbey Road at 8.12am to Barrow Town Hall, arriving 8.23am before transferring onto service 4 at 8.28am.