Pupils dodge ‘frantic’ traffic for school bus

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Children as young as 11 are having to cross a busy four-lane dual carriageway to catch their bus from Findon to The Angmering School.

Students living in isolated communities to the north of Findon now have to walk into the village after bus stops near their homes were suspended.

And those on the western side of the A24 have to contend with fast, rush hour traffic as they cross both carriageways to reach the school bus.

Bus stops between Horsham and Worthing have been suspended since a serious accident involving a stationary bus picking up passengers near Washington and a van in January.

The van driver and nine bus passengers were injured.

While councillors and council officials continue their efforts to find a long term solution to the loss of bus stops without lay-bys, a Findon mum has voiced her concerns for the children having to cross the A24 to catch the bus.

Elizabeth Legge lives in the centre of Findon, so her own children are not affected, but she spoke out for families living further up the A24.

“The traffic along that road is just relentless, and it makes me shudder to think about the children having to get across four lanes to catch the school bus.”

Findon’s county councillor Deborah Urquhart arranged an urgent meeting with parish councillors Robin Carr and Del Henty and county highways cabinet member John O’Brien to discuss the issue.

Mr Henty and Mr Carr told how they spent many hours interviewing more than 60 people affected by the suspension of the bus stops, especially those in outlying areas such as North End, North Farm and around Windlesham House School. They heard that people were struggling to go shopping, visits family and friends and keep appointments with doctors, dentists or hospitals. Some even said their jobs were at risk.

Mr O’Brien pointed out that the cost of construction of bus lay-bys varied between £60,000 and £100,000 but promised that a short term solution would be urgently considered.

This week Mrs Urquhart said the county council was about to carry out its own survey to ascertain how many people were affected, where they lived, how they were affected and when. She understood that a temporary arrangement had been agreed for North Farm, but with no date fixed yet.

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