WHILST many parents were celebrating the arrival of the new school year last week, for others, it became a chaotic start to the term.
Problems and confusion over the school bus system left many families high and dry, particularly on the Orihuela Costa after it was announced that bus routes were being reduced.
For mother Julie, this had major consequences. Living in Playa Flamenca with her son attending the school in Los Dolses, she lives 2.8km away from the school and now does not qualify for a bus place as she is within the 3km guides. Over five months pregnant, Julie now faces an agonising hour long walk with her six-year-old to make sure he gets to school as she doesn’t drive and has no other means of getting him there. Julie said: “I was walking him to school on the first day anyway to ensure everything was OK and that is when I heard about the bus, otherwise I would have been stood at the bus stop waiting, unaware of what was happening and I think that must have happened to others as pupils were arriving late obviously after realising there was no bus. It is mad, everyone was very angry and pretty disgusted.” Julie is now concerned at how she is going to cope, particularly in a few months when she nears her due date and she has no support to help her get her son to school: “I physically can’t do it. I will be spending all day just walking back and forth from the school. What do I do in the winter when it is cold in the mornings? It will really affect my son’s health as he has asthma.”
Julie explained that she tried to get him into the closer Playa Flamenca School but there were no places available so had to go to Los Dolses.
In Torrevieja, parents held protests, demonstrating about the lack of subsidised school transport as a result of cutbacks. The parents pledged to continue the protests until the town hall restores the subsidies.