How do you get to school safely in a rural area? If you live outside Lochmaben, current Council policy is that journeys up to 2 miles (for children under 8) and up to 3 miles are the parents responsibility. Here’s a pdf showing the radii from Lochmaben school for 1, 2 and 3 miles…
Joined up thinking or not?
The Council’s recently agreed Active Travel Strategy includes Actions to identify improvements to existing footway provision or making new provision within 16 listed towns and between communities, to the public transport network, the core path network and to tourist destinations. But there is no specific consideration in the Actions in relation to schools, other than, by inference, in the 16 listed communities. There is no current capital budget to deliver any improvements identified through this process.
In budget terms it’s a scary proposition for the Council: the size of communities with schools is such that there are significant lengths of road within 2 and 3 mile radii of schools where there is no footway, and any such provision across the region or in relation to all schools would be a very large undertaking.
What about local bus services linking into school routes through villages?
Although the Council has influence and provides funding for local transport needs through Swestrans, the timetables currently don’t serve many rural communities even though parents are prepared to pay for safe travel to school.