PARENTS, teachers and children in Farnborough have joined forces in an effort to save their school bus from being driven out of town.

The bus drives children to and from nine schools in the area and has been described as ‘invaluable’ by local people.

Yet the council grant for the bus has run out, leaving the future uncertain for its users who have been loyal to it since September.

Local parent Nicky May said: “It is a valuable asset to me and is to quite a few parents.

“It reduces pollution, and is essential for child road safety as it reduces the amount of parents’ cars parking around the schools.”

“It would be a real shame if it had to go — I think a lot of the younger children enjoy travelling with their friends on the bus.”

Lynda Downes is the headteacher at Parsonage Farm Infant School and was part of the original group who set up the school bus.

“We sent out a survey to parents from local schools to see how viable it would be,” she said.

“Some 120 people replied saying they were interested and it sounded like the bus would be full.

“However the popularity of the bus has been very, very slow and only 45 children currently use the bus.

“It would be a real blow to us if we had to get rid of it, we also use it for our after school clubs. It is very useful for us.”

She added that the bus was also aimed at secondary school children but they have been refusing to use it, seeing it as ‘uncool’.

“The very children we were aiming at are rejecting the bus,” she said. “It is mainly used by junior school children at the moment.

“We want to encourage parents to put their children on the bus as it is good for their independence and gives parents an extra hour in the day.”

Mrs Downes emphasised that the bus will never be self-funding through the fares alone as each child pays 50p a day for their ride.

“We do need some local sponsorship,” she added. “The bus would be an ideal place for local companies to place advertising — it would have huge benefits.”