Hastings mum concerned by lack of social distancing on daughter’s school bus

A Hastings woman expressed her concerns about the lack of social distancing among students travelling to and from schools on Stagecoach buses.

Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 1:50 pm
Simone Emerson pictured in Ashford Road, Hastings. SUS-200929-113512001

Simone Emerson’s daughter has just started secondary school and relies on the 26a Stagecoach service to get her there.

However, Miss Emerson said the service has ‘no allowance for social distancing’ and is sometimes too full to accommodate all students travelling to school, putting them at risk of spreading coronavirus.

Miss Emerson said her daughter’s school – Ark Alexandra – has worked hard to keep children safe, but feels their efforts are ‘pointless’ as soon as the students board the bus to go home.

She said: “Due to the poor service (from Stagecoach), there is a lack of social distancing.

“The schools have worked really hard to keep the children in year bubbles, but the bus service is making all this work pointless, by cramming multiple years onto a bus with no social distancing at all.

“With increasing coronavirus cases, this really needs to be corrected quickly. They are putting our whole town and its economy at risk with their lack of social responsibility.”

Miss Emerson said the service her daughter gets on each day is a single-decker bus, and the two 26a services following it are double deckers, but arrive at school too late for the students. She said she asked Stagecoach to swap them but did not receive a reply.

Stagecoach said it was ‘urgently looking at the capacity on this particular bus journey’.

A spokesman said: “Every available bus we have is out on the road and our depot team are working flat-out to get people to where they need to be in the safest possible way.

“This autumn, travel patterns have emerged gradually as more people come back to using buses. Although we only have a limited number of buses, we are taking as flexible an approach as we can with bus allocation.

“We’re also working closely with East Sussex County Council to provide additional support with the help of local bus and coach operators while government advisory limits remain on ordinary service buses to help maintain social distancing.”