COUNCIL chiefs have been asked to look again at arrangements for transporting children from Inveraray to school in Lochgilphead.

Resident David Moncrieff claimed that Argyll and Bute Council was trying to “work around” legislation by using a service bus without seatbelts for the 23-mile journey.

He later said that he had contacted the bus company which supplied the transport, and that two coaches with seatbelts had then been used.

The discussion took place during public question time at the council’s Mid Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands area committee meeting on Wednesday, February 28.

Mr Moncrieff said: “The council has responsibility for the safe passage of children to school and return by transportation where necessary. The collection by bus from Inveraray to Lochgilphead, by West Coast Motors, is the 428 service.

“It is called a service bus, but in reality this is a school bus. It only operates at school times and on school days, not on holidays or weekends.

“The bus frequently used is what is termed as an urban bus, which has no seatbelts. Urban buses are for use in urban areas, which are mostly 30mph short journeys.

“However, the 23-mile journey is not urban, and not 30mph. Transporting Argyll and Bute schoolchildren, legislation states that school buses must have seatbelts.

“Argyll and Bute Council has found a work-around, a way to thwart, by calling this a service bus, not requiring seatbelts.

“The consequences of a work-around, thwarting the legislation, is endangering schoolchildren.

“A collision could be in excess of 100mph. Will Argyll and Bute Council stop the use of buses without seatbelts?”

Mr Moncrieff then said: “I contacted West Coast Motors yesterday [Tuesday, February 27] and today there were two coaches on the run, not any urban buses. All coaches have seatbelts.

“Whether that will continue I do not know, but it should, and I think the council should contact West Coast Motors.”

Clerk Shona Barton advised Mr Moncrieff that his question would be referred to council officers for a response.

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: “The safety and wellbeing of our children and young people are a top priority for the council.

“The vehicles we use to transport pupils comply with all relevant legislative requirements. This includes of course the 428 service which is a local registered service, as required for public use, with the Office for the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland.

“Transport legislation makes services like the 428 available to help children and young people, not just adult customers, to get to where they need to be.

“Our focus is on providing safe, efficient school transportation services for our young people and it would be wrong to suggest otherwise.”

West Coast Motors has been contacted for comment.