Schools to run bus services for Herts students

By Jay Grenby, September 15, 2011

Yavneh College in Borehamwood is to introduce its own school bus network following the decision of Hertfordshire County Council to abolish free or concessionary transport to Jewish and other faith schools by September 2012.

The Yavneh service will cover pupils living within the county boundaries - for example, Bushey, Radlett, Elstree and Shenley. The cost of an annual pass will be comparable to the subsidised rates offered by the council.

However, in response to parental demand, Yavneh will extend the service to Edgware, Mill Hill, Hendon, Golders Green, Cockfosters, Southgate and High Barnet.

"The fine details have yet to be worked out," said governors' chair Sue Nyman. "We initially expect to launch three different routes."

With several hundred pupils travelling to its Kenton premises from Hertfordshire, JFS has arranged for commercial operators to take over the routes previously operated by the council. The changeover is expected to be effected for the summer term.

JFS head Jonathan Miller anticipated that any fare increases would be minimal. "The school is delighted that there will be no loss of service for students."

For Hertsmere Jewish Primary, near Radlett, the issue was "a particular worry", said governor Daren Nathan. He was angry the council had failed to take into account the "exceptional circumstances" at HJPS - "a primary school in a rural location. Though on the main Watling Street, there is no public bus service whatsoever, so we cannot even consider a chaperone service. To compound the situation, it has come at the most challenging time financially."

Nonetheless, HJPS was making every effort to introduce a school bus service by September 2012. "Such a service would have to be financially viable," Mr Nathan added, "and we recognise that this will not be easy".

Last updated: 3:16pm, September 15 2011