A Redford school girl has been left stranded after West Sussex County Council axed her school bus during the summer holidays.
County council officers have refused to accept that 14-year-old Amber Creber lives more than a mile from the nearest bus service, and they therefore have a responsibility to ensure she gets to school safely.
But her mother Juliet, and Chichester district councillor Gordon McAra have measured the distance three different ways, by car, on the map and using a specialist measuring wheel, and each time it is 1.1 miles to the nearest bus stop up the road in Linch.
Her exasperated mother told the Observer: “There is no footpath on the lane, it’s narrow, has a 60mph speed limit and is pitch dark in the winter with no street lights.
“It’s far too dangerous for Amber to walk along the lane and I have told the county council she is not going to do it.”
Until two years ago Amber caught the 426 school bus into Midhurst which had been running since her mother and aunt caught it more than 40 years ago.
When its route changed, Amber caught the DoRiS which went through Stedham and on to Midhurst Rother College.
“Then I discovered the county council was stopping the DoRiS bus from the start of the new term,” said Mrs Creber.
“I rang them and said it was over a mile, but they refused to accept it, saying they had a different way of measuring.”
She was told she could either drive Amber to the bus stop at Linch or alternatively drive her to Stedham to catch the 92A service into Midhurst.
“What’s the point of that,” asked Mrs Creber.
“I might as well do all the way to the school and that’s what I am now doing, driving an extra 100 miles a week, five miles in and out twice a day, and I am hacked off about it to say the least, because everyone has measured it and it’s over a mile to the nearest bus stop.
“If they had met me halfway and offered to pay my petrol for one of the daily trips, I could accept it, but it’s wrong to ask her to walk down that dangerous road.
“I wouldn’t have an issue if we lived in Easebourne, for instance, because the road is safer, but this is very rural.
“It seems when you live in a village, you are penalised and we are having all our services taken away.”
Cllr McAra found the distance from her house to the Linch bus stop was one mile and 157 feet.
He told the Observer: “It’s well over the mile criteria set by the county council.
“I must say, I found measuring it in day light was quite scary, with some very fast cars roaring up and down the road.
“I certainly think it is a dangerous road for a young girl to walk at night in the dark and hope WSCC will accept our measurements and reconsider their earlier decision, and make alternative arrangements to get her home safely.”
A West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “There is a dispute regarding the exact distance between home and the bus stop.
“As is usual in such cases, the county council is reviewing the measurement and will correspond with the parent as soon as the review has been carried out.”