A CAMPAIGN to save a vital school bus in Partington has scored a major victory – but an unexpected bump in the road could scupper plans.

Around 58 children in the Partington area were in danger of losing their school transport after the parent-funded bus service was pulled by Manchester Community Transport.

For 10 years, the service had been running from Partington to Lymm High School and Little Bollington CofE school at a cost of £10 per week per child.

Parents had to set the service up as there was a high number of children travelling to the schools but transport was lacking in the area.

In 2014, the fee was hiked up 50 per cent to £15 a week and parents thought the future of the service was secure – but a letter from the bus provider stating it was no longer ‘financially viable’ put all this in jeopardy.

Disheartened parents searched around for a new operator but were being quoted exorbitant charges of to £220 a month per child.

“Those quotes aren’t financially viable for the parents,” said Lucy Jennings, a Little Bollington school parent.

“We have looked into buying a school bus and running the service ourselves but then we ran into problems of licensing, cost and other legalities.”

The group of parents had a breakthrough when Network Warrington agreed to run on a public service to Lymm High School and a private service to Little Bollington at a cost of £420 to £460 a year per child.

However, Network Warrington require a passenger assistant to safeguard the children using the service due to their age.

The assistant would need to find their own way home from Little Bollington, and with a taxi fare costing £12, a voluntary role was out of the question.

Already forking out for the school bus, it is not financially viable for parents to solely fund the passenger assistant, putting the service at risk.

Parents are in a race against time to find an assistant and raise funds to cover costs before September arrives. A petition calling for Trafford Council to give primary school children the same rights as high school children has been launched.

“We are not asking for the school bus service to be free,” said Lucy. “We are still prepared to pay for the service but feel it is unfair to ask us parents to fund the bus and a passenger assistant too.”

To enquire about the passenger assistant role, email partingtonschoolbus@gmail.com.