A FURIOUS dad has hit out after his daughters were told to give back their concessionary bus passes.
Craig Jones claims he was told his daughters’ names were “pulled out of a hat”, in a raffle-style draw that left them no longer eligible for help with their travel costs.
Mr Jones, whose daughters Emma Louise (14) and Holly (12) attend St Ninian’s High School, in Kirkintilloch, said he had applied in good time for the travel passes, which had been approved.
The father of three said: “After successfully being awarded the bus passes, and using the Twechar school bus for three weeks or more, we were told to hand them back and that there was no longer a seat for my two girls on the school bus.
“When I called East Dunbartonshire Council I was told that my daughters’ names were pulled out of a hat, after four more eligible kids applied after the start of term.”
He added: “I don’t begrudge anyone who is entitled to a place, I just want clarification that drawing names out of a hat is the approved method of selection in this matter.
“I find it astonishing also that they should even put two kids from the same family in the hat.
“It has caused us much more inconvenience as my wife now has to drop off and collect the kids as well as take our youngest to and from nursery.
“We are a single-income family and my 12.-year-old has a medical condition and would be extremely vulnerable if left to get to school and back on public transport.
“The school bus stops right at our door.”
Mr Craig is pursuing the matter with East Dunbartonshire Council.
The council’s head of education, Gordon Currie, said: “We are aware of this matter and have responded directly to Mr Jones and provided him with a copy of the council’s school transport policy.
“The council policy outlines the conditions that have to be met in order to receive a concessionary place and the ballot process that is used when there are not enough seats to cover the agreed number of concessionary applications.
“In the case of pupils with a medical condition, an application for a concessionary place can be made under the criteria of medical grounds.”
Labour MP Gregg McClymont took the matter up with the council on behalf of the Jones family.
He said: “The council’s policy to allocate spaces on a ballot basis may be something that has to be re-examined in light of Mr Jones’ case.
“But finding a better solution is not obvious, especially at a time when EDC, like all councils, is having to reduce services because of cuts made by governments in Edinburgh and Westminster.”
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