Shefford and District Bus Association
Transporting your child in a safe and cost effective way

SHEFFORD AND DISTRICT BUS ASSOCIATION

 

TREASURER'S REPORT TO THE 2020 AGM

 To follow

 

CHAIR'S REPORT TO THE 2020 AGM

 I would like to begin by saying a big thank you to both Alex Flegmann and Berni Stringer for all their hard work over the last year. Owing to unexpected circumstances caused by the Corona Pandemic, committee members have been called upon to give additionally of their time. Juggling full time work, parenting and running the ‘bus’ is a significant commitment. While most parents are mindful of this undertaking, there are a small minority who make unreasonable demands and cause disproportionate unpleasantness. May I remind everyone that all correspondence and dealing with committee members should be done in a respectful manner and with appropriate courtesy. All three of us have children in Lower Sixth, so if you would like to join the committee please do let us know. As you all know, the ‘bus’ is run by parents and for this to continue we need somebodies to take it over.

 

We started last academic year with the bus running rather late most mornings. In the main, roadworks on route and increased Bedford traffic was the cause. To compensate, and ensure children were arriving at their schools on time, the committee took the decision to cut the stops at Shillington and Meppershall. While there was an unwanted knock-on for certain families, the improvement was immediately evident.

 

Unsurprisingly, Lockdown became the news that marked 2020 as unprecedented. With Covid regulations being implemented from government, organisations were called upon to interpret and implement appropriate restrictions. Advice was often generic, ambiguous and contradictory. It became incredibly difficult to plan a way forward. Landmark, in particular, found themselves in an impossible situation. The company was not in a position to furlough its staff as government regulation insisted they keep their buses operational. This despite the reduced need for children to use the service. Drivers were kept on in the event the government needed the busses to operate. To complicate matters, the committee was not in a position to plan ahead, without clarity from schools as to their intentions to remain closed, or re-open. Following consultation with parents, we agreed to keep Landmark on a
retainer while the service was suspended. The consultation revealed a wide variety of opinions about this and the level of retainer we ended up paying corresponded to the median amount suggested by parents.

We are grateful to Landmark, for their understanding and agreement. We have worked hard to ensure good relationships with Landmark, particularly as we look towards renegotiating a contract for 2021-2022. Of course, as in the past, the contract will be put out to tender.

 

At present the bus is not full to capacity. This has come in handy and has allowed us to implement a degree of ‘social distancing’. Following the publication of the Covid Health & Safety rules I am pleased to report that children are now adhering to wearing a mask and taking the rules seriously. It has certainly helped appointing a monitor, who has ‘eyes on the ground’. We continue to be grateful to parents who ensure their children are abiding the rules.

 

With our attention now focused on securing a reliable and affordable new provider for 2021-2022, we wish to invite anyone who is interested in joining the committee to make themselves known as soon as possible. The benefit of this bus service I’m sure is appreciated by every family who uses it. Committee members come and go as their children no longer require the bus. This is again the case and without replacing committee members the future of this service is in jeopardy.

 

In closing, having endured Brexit and now Covid, I speak on behalf of everyone I’m sure as I say we look forward to an uneventful next twelve months.