A NORTH BERSTED couple have complained about the school transport changes which have left their disabled son waiting for up to 35 minutes.
Kyle-Rhys Yates, 13, has been forced to endure the lengthy roadside spells in spite of being severely autistic.
He also has the mental capacity of a three to five-year-old, is doubly incontinent and non-verbal. His mum, Kerry Yates, said Kyle had suffered three changes to his minibus transport to Fordwater School, in Chichester, since the end of last term.
“He likes consistency and routine. But he is being treated like a second-class citizen,” she said. It is also difficult to stop him walking off.
“They are putting my son’s life at risk. He does not understand safety,” said Mrs Yates, 35.
Kyle has attended Fordwater for ten years. His family lived in Chichester for the first six years before they moved to Fir Tree Way in 2009.
He had enjoyed the same driver and escort for that period and was collected and returned to his house.
But West Sussex County Council’s school transport officers decided in the summer Kyle’s pick up/drop off point would be at the end of Fir Tree Way.
His driver and escort also changed. The arrangement altered again early last month after a review prompted by parents and schools. A further change of escort occurred at the end of September. Mrs Yates said Kyle had waited as much as 35 minutes, and often 20 minutes, for the minibus.
His dad, James, 41, said: “The situation is going to get worse. It is going to get colder and colder and icy and frosty. Kyle is going to be standing in the rain getting soaking wet and will be in those clothes all day.”
A council spokeswoman said: “We have experienced some operational problems with this route which we are addressing and we are sorry that these have caused difficulties for some parents. We have looked at the journey timings and hope further improvements can be made in the near future.”
She said the route would continue to be monitored and further changes made to benefit the pupils.