St John's High School Bus Service
Councillor Richard McCready
15 September 2011
The underlying factor in the problems faced by St John's pupils trying to get from the West End to their school and back is that bus companies are under no obligation to operate non-profit making services.
Both bus companies in Dundee can focus on profitable routes and they do not have to provide a social service to anyone.
This is a legacy of bus deregulation implemented in the 1980s.
I think that this issue along with a number of other issues, such as the inability to go by bus from parts of the West End ward to Lochee High Street, make the case for more regulation of buses.
I think that in return for licences to run profitable services there should also be an obligation to provide socially useful services such as a service to St John's and services for many areas with an elderly population.
The City Council, though, needs to act and find a solution for those pupils who are at St John's just now. These pupils generally live within the catchment area of the school, they generally attended one of the feeder primary schools for St John's, namely St Joseph's Primary.
The lack of an adequate bus service is making many parents question whether they would want to send their children to St John's.
To replace the number 4 service which National Express Dundee withdrew the City Council replaced this with a subsidised bus service the number 204.
This service does not include services to St John's at the beginning and end of the school day. The Education and City Development Departments should look at this issue.
Subsidised bus services run to St Paul's Academy, as the council report from June points out, and parents of pupils at Harris Academy have rightly been promised that when the school decants to the Rockwell site during the rebuilding of Harris Academy that buses will be provided from the West End, and elsewhere, to the Rockwell site.
I do not see what the difference is here.
Parents and pupils at St John's should receive the same consideration.
I am pleased that my colleague Jenny Marra MSP, herself a former pupil at St John's, has made clear her support for West End parents who are concerned about getting their children to and from St John's High School in a reasonable time.