Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Crammed' Bus Fears

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Crammed' Bus Fears

Article excerpt

Byline: Sarah Scott Reporter

CHILDREN were left crammed shoulder to shoulder on the same bus route were dozens were injured in a crash.

Following the incident in June when 28 youngsters were hurt and one suffered severe injuries, Go North East transport bosses decided to reduce the three buses it provided to take the pupils to and from St Bede's School in Lanchester, County Durham, to two.

The bus company insists there are more than enough seats provided and children are hanging back at the bus stop and letting the first bus go with empty seats before deciding to jump on the second vehicle.

But they have now put together a plan to improve their management of the service so space on buses is freed up.

Worried parents say more than 15 youngsters are having to stand on their five-mile daily journey from Stanley and they fear for their safety if there was ever a repeat accident. Now they want their voices heard as they fight for the return of the third bus.

Julie Crawford's 16-year-old daughter Charlotte was on board the Go North East service bus the day it crashed.

The mum, who lives near Chester-le-Street, said her daughter narrowly escaped injuries and has done her best to "blank out" the accident.

But the start of term has brought back memories for the teenager who told her mum she fears getting on the overcrowded bus.

Mrs Crawford, said: "At first, Charlotte was okay and she even called her grandad to take her and a friend to school - minutes after being involved in the crash.

"That's Charlotte's way of dealing with things. She likes things to just go back to normal.

"But she gets on the bus now and there's at least 15 children standing up the aisle and it's making her increasingly anxious. Obviously she's worried there's going to be another accident.

"It's still very fresh in children's minds and I don't think there were children standing on the bus when it crashed in June. …

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