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Parents horror at fake bus driver offering children lift to school – urgent warning

Budget 2021: £4.7billion to be invested in education and schools

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The man was driving a bus in Houghton Conquest when he allegedly made the offer to the youngsters this morning, according to a warning from Central Bedfordshire Council. An image of the bus shows it bears the name G.H. WATTS, however, the company has confirmed to the local authority that it sold the vehicle to a private owner in December and it is no longer anything to do with the firm.

Central Bedfordshire Council sent an email to schools in its area, seen by BedfordshireLive, urging them to make pupils aware the bus is not official and they should not get on it.

The council described what happened as “very serious” and asked parents to make their children aware they should not to get into any unknown vehicles.

Its warning has been shared by worried parents in a number of groups on Facebook.

A Central Bedfordshire Council spokesperson said this evening: “We have a role to safeguard children, so when we became aware of the reports of the suspicious activity we shared this information with parents via our schools. We understand Bedfordshire Police have investigated and have no concerns.”

Bedfordshire Police has been approached for comment.

Meanwhile, youngsters aged five to 21 in Scotland are now able to apply for free bus travel across the country with the majority of transport operators part of the scheme.

However, certain bus services such as premium-fare night buses and City Sightseeing buses will not accept the pass.

According to the Scottish Government, the focus of the benefit is to support youngsters who need to make essential daily journeys.

This can include work, school, medical appointments and caring responsibilities.

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It comes as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned New Routemaster buses brought in by his predecessor could be removed as Transport for London (TFL) grapples with unprecedented financial turmoil.

The buses were a campaign pledge from Boris Johnson when he became mayor in 2008 and are seen as an important legacy, gaining the nickname “Boris Buses” or “Borismasters”.

In total 1,000 of the buses were brought in but are now reaching their mid-life refurbishment which Mr Khan has warned TfL may now be unable to afford.

The mayor’s office said the buses may have to be removed from the capital’s roads while the planned electrification of the city’s bus fleet could be delayed until at least 2037.

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During the pandemic passenger numbers on TFL’s services plummeted 95 percent. It says the drop has had a devastating impact on its finances.

In a statement today, Mr Khan said: “It is no exaggeration to say that tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs – many of which would be from outside the capital – will be at risk if Ministers fail to properly fund TfL.

“In addition, our strides towards bus electrification will be halted and the capital will suffer with fewer buses on the roads and an unreliable Tube service with ageing trains.”

The Government has offered short term bailouts, but Mr Johnson has pointed to the freezing of fares by Mr Khan as a factor in TfL’s financial struggles.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said the Government has already pledged £4 billion to keep London’s transport network running, enabling businesses to operate and key workers to continue their critical work in the capital.

He added: “But the mayor has a responsibility to get TfL back onto a sustainable financial footing in a way that is fair to taxpayers, rather than continuing to push for bailouts from the state.

“We will continue to discuss further funding requirements with TfL and the mayor.”

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