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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:07 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Badgers Mount, Sevenoaks, Kent
HELP!

Hi all - just found this forum while searching for answers!
(sorry if the story is a bit long...)

My daughter and her friend are starting at Wilmington (GSGW) next month. We live in Badgers Mount and Halstead - normally children from the Sevenoaks area go to grammar schools in the Tonbridge direction; but this year KCC have started to send children in our neighbourhood to Wilmington.

Initially we weren't too happy with being given our 4th choice - but after making lots of enquiries we were happy to find GSGW has a good reputation.

Our next concern was travel. The school's info shows a private coach (North Kent School Transport) goes to Pratts Bottom and would work out about £1000 a year!

All the normal grammar schools have a free direct bus/coach from our area so this all looked rather disappointing.

After talking to KCC we were advised that 'travel assistance' would be provided and we would get the details later. So we started to relax a bit!

Well the details arrived on Friday.

KCC's proposed travel plan is:

Taxi from home to Otford Rail Station, then train to Swanley followed by a bus to the school!
Nb. The taxi is coming from a Swanley based company.

We can see all sorts of problems with this number of changes and being reliant on so many different forms of transport - the film "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" comes to mind :?

It's early days (but we haven't much time!) and KCC seem happy that their proposed solution is fine and don't seem to want to change.

The coach is around £5 a day. Surely two taxi rides+trains+buses can't be any cheaper?!

Our feeling's are that if KCC decide to start sending children to GSGW from our area then they should have thought the transport requirements through.

As an adult I wouldn't be happy with taxi>train>bus every day, never mind an eleven year old child!


ANY help or suggestions would be most welcome!
Thanks in advance.


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 Post subject: GSGW Transport
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 12:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:38 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Kent
I also have a daughter starting there in Sept. As far as I know most of the girls travel using North Kent Coach service which is about £850 a year form Orpington area. I know is covers Knockholt and Pratts Bottom - but not sure about Badgers Mount. I think there is also a public bus from Orpington station - so I have been told. Not sure what other options there are as most seem to travel by coach.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 4:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:07 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Badgers Mount, Sevenoaks, Kent
Thanks for the reply :)

'We' are still fighting with KCC regarding their duff travel proposal!

It looks like the coach does go to Pratts Bottom which is the closest stop for us - so could be worse.

Just frustrating that KCC decided to send children in this direction without any sensible travel arrangements.

We want the coach so it's just a matter of trying to get KCC to see that £5 a day is cheaper than 2x taxi+train+bus (apart from being safer, more reliable and more eco friendly etc.!!!)

If KCC don't 'look after' our children this year then I guess ours will most likely be the first and last Sevenoaks children to accept Wilmington!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:08 pm
Posts: 134
Location: Westerham, Kent
I thought that all Kent residents travelling to Kent schools could get a Kent Freedom Pass now enabling them to travel on any Kent bus Free of charge?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:40 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:07 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Badgers Mount, Sevenoaks, Kent
WesterhamMum wrote:
I thought that all Kent residents travelling to Kent schools could get a Kent Freedom Pass now enabling them to travel on any Kent bus Free of charge?

Hi,
The coach pickup is run by a private company - "North Kent School Transport" so I guess this doesn't qualify.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:02 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:23 pm
Posts: 514
WesterhamMum wrote:
I thought that all Kent residents travelling to Kent schools could get a Kent Freedom Pass now enabling them to travel on any Kent bus Free of charge?

This doesn't work where we live either for getting to school as the local bus service runs 5 minutes or so too late to get the kids to school on time, by the time they have walked from the bus stop to school they would be late. So parents have to send them on private coaches which costs a lot more.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:46 am
Posts: 421
Westerham mum. - the free bus pass and the Kent freedom pass are different. The free bus pass is only available if you live more than 3 miles away and the freedom pass is £50 per year.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:28 am
Posts: 114
Location: Kent
hi Badger and Tonbridgemum,
Sorry you're having such a bad time with Transport, but you're not alone as we all do. It is believed in our school that those who can no longer deal politely with overstressed parents in admissions are shunted sidewys in to Tranport where less damage can be done :D.

My journey is really simple but bus has been cancelled without warning, DD1 and several others vanished from database after travelling on same bus for a year, (th fault of fairies, elves or aliens, apparently), not to mention terrible unhelpfulness, even after queuing for 30mins to speak to someone. Have to speak to them next week to ensure children are on same bus - oh joy, can't wait.

Badger, isn't there some sort of official appeals system attached to transport? I thought there was. You could also use Health and Safety as a factor for and 11yr old on such a difficult journey.
Tonbridgemum - have you checked the distance measurement, as you're so close? If you can find out how they measure it, it would be easy to check and doing so many apps at this time of the year, there must be some errors. Or measure it in the car using their measurement points.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:20 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:07 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Badgers Mount, Sevenoaks, Kent
One Down wrote:
Badger, isn't there some sort of official appeals system attached to transport? I thought there was. You could also use Health and Safety as a factor for and 11yr old on such a difficult journey.

Hi 'One Down',
Thanks for the reply...

This is all very new to me and am slowly losing the will to live :?

Leaning about 'appeals system' etc. or finding someone who had been in a similar situation and managed to resolve things was the main point of my original post.

At the moment we are waiting for KCC to 'look again' at their proposal.
I've highlighted safety, cost, reliability and eco-friendliness in my argument.

You would think having simple transport arrangements to the school KCC picked for you isn't asking too much!

Need to give KCC a polite amount of time to resolve things before trying the papers, local MP and anyone else that will listen I guess.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:28 am
Posts: 114
Location: Kent
Hi Badger,
I suppose you've explored the appeals options in the KCC 'Home to School Transport' booklet pg 10 which suggests getting the support of your local county councillor to appeal to the Regulation Committee Appeal Panel? link: http://www.kent.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/A2F ... mplete.pdf


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