Councillors put safety first as 800 Fife pupils face losing their school buses

Fife councillors have pledged to put safety first in a review of school transport routes.

Their comments came as they reviewed the new Walked Routes to School Policy which will see all school transport routes reviewed for pupils who are two miles of secondary schools.

This could result in free bus travel being taken from around 800 children.

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Several councillors raised concerns over the safety of children walking along roads that were previously considered unsafe.

Labour Councillor Ian Cameron said: “Officers will look at the shortest distance when assessing – not the safest.

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“Safety is a difficult issue to deal with but it is something we must deal with.”

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Conservative Councillor Dave Dempsy highlighted the A823 in Dunfermline, which had previously been assessed as safe, but reported many constituents saying they wouldn’t want to cross that road.

He said: “The data looks okay, but the perception is different. If you’re looking at the traffic coming off the roundabout you don’t know which cars are going to keep going and which are going to cross your path. It’s an intimidating process.”

“He added: “Everything we’re doing is about getting children safely to school.”

It was agreed that when a crossing was close to a roundabout, traffic on it would also be taken into consideration.

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The Walked Routes to School Policy was created to ensure a fairer distribution for children who get free school transport.

The report noted that around 800 children could lose out

School bus services were provided where there were no safe walking routes within the approved walking distance, but many roads and walkways have been updated, sparking this new review.

The Scrutiny committee agreed that a parent council representative would be invited to participate.

The policy will now be returned to the education and children’s services committee before being approved.

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