More than 100 residents packed a public meeting to discuss the re-routing of a popular bus service down a narrow road where chaos ensues outside a school.
But safety concerns outside Upton Heath C of E Primary School in Upton Lane and the loss of the service down Mill Lane prompted a meeting at the Royal British Legion Club attended by locals, councillors and council officials plus Stagecoach.
A video shared with The Chronicle by resident Hayley Boyd shows the Stagecoach bus struggling to get past moving and parked cars outside the school and at one point the large vehicle mounts the pavement prompting safety fears.
Hayley, who lives in The Oaks Drive, off Upton Lane, said: “It’s carnage, complete and absolute carnage because it’s dangerous. People can’t walk on the pavements any more.”
Hayley, who believes the road is simply not wide enough, added: “The council wants children to walk to school but how can children walk to school when you’ve got a bus mounting pavements?”
A number 26 bus, operated by Arrowebrook Coaches, had served Upton Lane without problems but it is a smaller vehicle and ran less often compared with the number 1 service, which is every 20 minutes in both directions. Service 26 now operates along Mill Lane.
Upton Labour Cllr Matt Bryan, who has been working on the issue with Tory colleague Cllr Jill Houlbrook, said Stagecoach had previously claimed the reason for switching its number one service to Upton Lane was so double deckers could be used at busy times avoiding the low bridge at the Bache.
But at the residents’ meeting Stagecoach said the problem was due to constant damage to wing mirrors of buses using Mill Lane because of overhanging trees and telegraph poles too close to the road.
Cllr Bryan believes these issues could be solved and hopes Stagecoach will consider reinstating the Mill Lane service.
“A few residents didn’t want the change, there are a lot of elderly and disabled people who used the service in Mill Lane,” added the councillor, who said the bus company had agreed to address road safety issues outside the primary school as an immediate priority.
Cllr Bryan said the situation needed to be handled ‘delicately’ because the worst scenario would be if Stagecoach decided to bypass Upton altogether.
"In order to accommodate the passengers who rely on this service, we need to operate double decker buses at busy times. The low bridge on Mill Lane required us to re-route the service to Upton Lane – which has always maintained a bus service.
“We appreciate that the existing traffic congestion during school pick up and drop off times on Upton Lane has been somewhat exacerbated by buses using the route. We are working with stakeholders to explore options which might help to lessen pressure in this area during key congestion periods.
“We are very keen to continue providing a service to Upton. It is regrettable that a small number of customers have been disadvantaged by this change, but unfortunately this route is the only viable option for the number 1 service.”