WORRIED parents are concerned for their children's safety after a timetable change has led to some pupils facing a wait of well over an hour for a bus home from school.

Students using the 62 Stagecoach service to get home to Stonehouse and the Stanleys from Marling, Stroud High and Archway School are having to wait around an hour and 15 minutes after school finishes for their bus.

A timetable change earlier this year means the 62 leaves the Cainscross Road stop at 3.05pm - which is too early for students as the schools finish at 3.10pm or 3.15pm.

There isn't another bus until 4.25pm - around 75 minutes after classes finish - and parents say this is often late and can arrive at around 4.40pm - meaning a wait of around an hour-and-a-half.

This bus used to arrive at the Cainscross Road stop at 4.05pm but a further timetable change in August means it currently leaves at 4.25pm. 

The problem has been caused because the previous service used by students from Stonehouse and the Stanleys - the Stagecoach 66 bus - was rerouted to provide new links between Stroud and Cheltenham.

That service left the same stop at 3.40pm, which was ideal for students.
Many parents are now worried about the safety of their children as the nights draw in and say the long wait time is extremely frustrating. 

Mike Duxbury, the father of a Year 10 pupil, said: "When we were deciding on schools for our son, being able to get him there on public transport was a significant factor.

"Given there was an hourly service and the bus after school was heavily used, we never imagined a situation where there would be a one-and-a-half hour wait.

"There is no other public transport from these schools to the Stanleys which is nearly an hour's walk away. 

"The nearest routes are along the towpath or the cycle way - neither of which are hugely safe - and the route through Middleyard includes significant extra uphill paths.

"The number 62 bus is half-empty at other times, I just cannot understand how this makes any commercial sense either."

Another parent, who asked not to be named, said: "We are considering what to do including a possible change of school to one that has a school bus, so students can get home in a timely and safe manner.

"I can't think of anyone including adults who would like to leave their place of work/study on a daily basis and wait almost 90  minutes to start their journey home, so why do we put our schoolchildren through it?

"They get fed up and tired from all the hanging about and it will be cold and dark in the winter."

A passenger Nicola Hillary, who lives in the Stanleys, also commented on the situation. 

"On Thursday, September 14, I got the 3pm bus from Stroud to the Stanleys from Merrywalks," she said. 

"We left 10 minutes late and as it passed Stroud High School and Marling I could see the children pouring out of the schools in crowds, none of them with any chance of making it to the bus stop on time. 

"It must be so frustrating for those children seeing their bus passing metres away, knowing that they have to wait nearly an hour-and-a-half for the next one."

A Stagecoach spokesperson said: "Within the Stroud and Stonehouse area there are a number of school children who use the commercial bus network to travel to and from school.  

"Our buses are scheduled to meet the demands of these school flows as best we can while maintaining an attractive level of service for our other customers within the level of resource we have available.  

"Demand has been high so far this academic year, in part due to some smaller bus operators withdrawing their dedicated school services due to them not being commercially viable. 

"There are many schools in Stroud in close proximity, with passengers travelling in many different directions.  

"We are monitoring these school flows alongside commuter journeys across our network." 

The SNJ did approach the schools for comment.