After Wiltshire Council killed off the early morning Stagecoach route 80 bus that brings St John’s Academy students from Chiseldon, from next term as many as 44 students were going to be left high and dry.
However the director of logistics at St John’s, Martin Cook, had better news (July 12) for parents who had been preparing to have to drive their children from Chiseldon to school.
Following negotiations with St John’s, a new service has been promised by the Go South Bus Company which runs the X5 double deckers from Swindon to Pewsey and Salisbury via Marlborough (and return) – under the ‘Salisbury Reds’ brand.
From September, the Go South Bus Company will be putting on a new school specific service as a morning only bus called Route 680. According to the draft timetable, on schooldays this will leave Swindon at 07.14, pick-up in Chiseldon at 07.35 and reach St John’s at 08.04.
For the return journey in the afternoon, passes and return fares will be valid on an X5 service that will leave St John’s at 15.35 and be diverted via Chiseldon.
There is a bit of a sting in the tail: the child return fare is set at £5.50 – which amounts over a full school year to £965.30. Student passengers will need a termly scholar’s pass or cash to buy a ticket.
These termly passes will be sold online at https://passes.gosouthcoast.co.uk/
With their July 3 letter to parents and carers, St John’s had included a survey to gauge the interest in running a private coach to pick up students in Chiseldon: “Based on a limited response, we are unable to explore this option further as the risk of financial liability to the school is too great.”