Dear Parents and Carers,
You will be aware from our letter to you in December that we have noticed an increase in the number of students who choose to walk into Duffield to catch the ‘Sixes’ bus to Allestree or Darley Abbey rather than get the 17S from the Bus Bay here at school. Some students have been walking to bus stops north of Duffield to be first in line for a seat on the bus. Two of our Year 7 students were involved in a collision with a car just before the end of term while doing this. Thankfully both boys are back in school and recovering well but we are keen to do all we can as a school to avoid this sort of accident in the future.
We are working with Notts & Derby Buses and Derbyshire County Council School Transport to see if there is anything that can be done to incentivise students to use the 17S. For students who live along the route, the 17S is the school’s preferred option in terms of student safety. It operates direct from the school bus bay, which is supervised by school staff. This is safer than walking into Duffield and better for our local community at the start and end of the school day.
Notts and Derby operate the 17S which is a purely commercial service. The school does not contract the bus service and neither does the local authority. The operators of the bus have explained that they set their fares based on what is needed in order to ensure the route remains viable.
We have asked Notts and Derby to consider the possibility of offering half termly season tickets at a discount and they have informed us that – provided there is sufficient demand – they would be prepared to offer half termly tickets for £2.00 return each day from Allestree and £2.50 a day from Darley Abbey and the start of the route. This would bring the cost close to that of a Mango card return journey on the ‘Sixes’ bus. Parents in receipt of the maximum level of Working Family Tax Credit or whose children are entitled to receive free school meals may be eligible for local authority assistance with the cost of travel providing they live between two and six miles from school.
In the first instance, we need to gauge the level of demand for Notts and Derby’s offer and so I am asking for you to indicate below whether you would be willing to switch to half termly payment. Provided there is sufficient interest, Notts and Derby will write to you with details of their bus pass card and method of payment.
In the meantime, we have spoken to students in assemblies to remind them about road safety and advise them to catch the bus in Duffield or, preferably, use the 17S. I would be grateful if you would reinforce this message with your child if they are users of either of these two bus services.