Stop the bus ... I want to get on

Iain McArthur doesn't want his daughter Megan to have to cross the busy A73.
Iain McArthur doesn't want his daughter Megan to have to cross the busy A73.

A dad has begged council chiefs to bend bus rules so his six-year-old daughter doesn’t have to cross busy roads on her way to school.

Iain McArthur says the family are dreading the end of the summer holidays as Cleland Primary pupil Megan faces a hazardous trip to school while classmates get free transport.

Mr McArthur, of Murdostoun Terrace, Bellside, admits his daughter is not entitled to a seat on the bus as they live within a mile of the school, but wants officials to reconsider due to the dangers she would face walking.

The worried dad said he and his wife both work and cannot take Megan to and from school.

He explained: “My daughter would have to cross the A73 which is the main road that connects the local area to the M8 and is very dangerous, with cars and lorries travelling at excessive speed.

“Bellside Road is also on her route and is used as the diversion for oversized lorries. Both these roads are very busy at all times and have no lollipop person or crossing with lights.

“And the area is about to get a lot busier due to electrification of the Glasgow-Edinburgh railway line, with diversions via Bellside Road through Cleland.”

Primary pupils must live at least a mile away from school to qualify for transport.

Mr McArthur, who says the family are less than 300 metres short, added: “I have put my safety concerns to North Lanarkshire Council, only to be told ‘one mile is one mile’ and the route is safe to walk.”

Mr McArthur has raised the issue with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s office and has also been in contact with his MP, MSP and councillors.

He added: “We shouldn’t have to rely on others to get our child to and from school and we are well aware it is our responsibility, but under the circumstances we feel our daughter is being let down by the system because her parents work and where we choose to live.

“This situation is a constant concern and stress-filled process for my wife, me and my daughter who doesn’t understand why she can’t get the bus like everyone else.

“There is no routine for her, resulting in her getting upset if she forgets who is picking her up from school on certain days.

“I would also point out that although the bus is supposedly full it is never more than half full both ways which is very frustrating as people have places on the bus and don’t use them.”

However, the council could offer no hope of Megan getting a seat on the bus.

Education officer Paul Corrigan said: “We are aware of this case and have been in contact with the family. Their application does not meet the set criteria for automatic school transport entitlement.”