Parents fear children could be stranded when vital South Yorkshire school bus that serves 15, 000 daily ends in summer

A BrightBus.
A BrightBus.

Parents fear their children could be left stranded when a vital school bus service that transports thousands of pupils a day ends this summer.

The BrightBus fleet has for nearly 20 years transported around 15, 000 passengers a day to and from the school gates across South Yorkshire and part of Worksop.

One of the buses at a school in Sheffield.

One of the buses at a school in Sheffield.

But managing director Mick Strafford is closing the firm at the end of the academic year in July due to his own "ill health" and has no plans to sell it on to another operator. Along with the loss of service, 90 members of staff also face redundancy.

A number of parents have now spoken of their concern that their kids may struggle to get to and from school. They urged bosses at Sheffield Council and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive to step in and provide alternative services when BrightBus closes.

Jodie Myles said: "This is awful. It is a lifeline to so many kids."

Sarah Swift added: "What about all the children that rely on these buses?"

Vicky Fletcher said: "How are kids going to get to schools? I don't drive and I'm disabled. I can't afford £20 a day in taxi fares. I hope the council can help as it is the kids' education that is at risk here, not just people's jobs."

Kelly Plant posted on Facebook: "My daughters catch the bus to Wales High School. What is going to happen now?"

Faye Harris said: "My kids are at a catchment school and will have to catch two buses without this service taking over an hour."

Beatrice Brennan added: "This has far reaching consequences for lots of children and their families and communities."

Michelle Daly posted on Facebook: "I hope that someone can step in and fill the gap."

The company, which also goes under the name MAS Special Engineering Ltd, was formed in 1998 and operates out of a depot in North Anston.

Their fleet of about 60 brightly green-coloured buses - some of which have been imported from Hong Kong - will be well known to many. The buses served more than 30 schools across the area.

When the company was at its most successful about two years ago it transported around 2.5 million passengers a year.

BrightBus specialised in providing direct services for children who may have to catch two different buses or more on the usual transport network.

Mr Strafford, aged 55, of Thorpe Salvin, said: "I have had a couple of health problems and it is stressful running a transport company.

"I've been involved in the industry for 30 years and I don't think it always works when another company comes in and takes over.

"I don't want people to think we are in financial difficulty, because we are not. There is a lot of great staff who have been with me for a long time and by doing it this way I can offer them a good redundancy package.

"We will also be working hard to find everyone alternative employment."

He added talks were underway with SYPTE and other organisations to see what can be done to replace the lost services. SYPTE and the council are yet to comment on the move.