Never a free bus when you want one

This week we report on a Sprouston family faced with shelling out £122 a year so that two teenagers can get the school bus to Kelso High each day and avoid walking nearly three miles along a road they claim is dangerous.

The Abbotts say it is unfair they have to fork out the cash, even though the family home – at 2.9 miles from the school – is a fraction inside the three-mile limit, beyond which families qualify for free school travel.

Mrs Abbott says, because she regards the road as dangerous and the fact she and her husband both work, it means the children have no option but to use the school bus and, because of this, it should be free.

It will seem bizarre to many that the council has allowed the three-mile limit to bisect the village, meaning some school children receive free bus travel, while their school friends go without.

We agree the local authority has to set the limit somewhere and if it made an exception for the Abbotts in this one case – the council regards the road as safe to walk along – it would no doubt be deluged with similar pleas for flexibility.

Then again it is easy to have sympathy with the Abbotts – it would be a dreadful thing indeed if one of their children had to suffer a road accident for their claims to be proved right.

Surely the common sense approach would be to make an exception in this case and redraw the Sprouston boundary, so that the whole village was included?