WORRIED mums could be forced to quit their jobs after cuts were made to a bus service they rely on to get their children to school.

Wiltshire Council’s decision to withdraw funding means a new timetable for the number 80 route – run by Stagecoach between Swindon and Marlborough – comes into force on August 4.

But the move is set to hit families in the town hard when the 2019/20 school year begins the following moth.

Single mum Rachel Beville, from Chiseldon, currently works at a medical practice but says she may need to seek alternative employment so that her daughter can continue to attend St John’s School in Marlborough.

The mother-of-three said: “I am a working parent, so I can’t get my daughter to school and I have relied on that bus service for all three of my children. Two of my children have finished at St John’s now, so Hannah is the last one and I’m very worried.

“I’m going to have to change my job if I can’t find any solution by September. I contacted my local MP (Robert Buckland), who was very helpful as he has been looking at different options, such as getting some kind of minibus. But I don’t know how realistic that is, really.

“The school wants to hire a new coach, but this will cost us more than what we used to pay and I can’t afford it. I don’t have the budget.

“Hannah is in Year 10 and until now we haven’t had a problem. She always used the bus service, so to be told in the last couple of weeks that actually from September that’s not going to be there is a bit of a shock really.”

Rachel and Hannah have conducted their own survey on the bus to find out how many children and members of the public are actually being affected.

“We ran this survey because nobody seems to know how many of us are affected,” said Rachel.

“There were 44 children using the bus and 27 different members of the public, so this is actually an important service to a lot of people.”

Other parents have voiced similar concerns.

Tracey Hempstock, 52, from Wroughton said: “My daughter has been using this bus since Year 7 and she is now 15.

“It’s going to impact us, as I can’t always drive her to school. I live 90 minutes from my office, so it will be very difficult.

“I will either have to change my hours, or work from home and it’s not ideal.

“My daughter is a really good student and next year she has her GSCEs, so I don’t want this to affect her.”

In a letter to parents, the school proposed several alternatives including a more expensive school bus hired by St John’s.

Tracey added: “About the idea to have a school bus, £5,50 per day return is too expensive and this will impact my budget. It’s terrible, we really have to find a solution before September.

“I filled a paper saying how it is going to affect me, but it won’t change anything now.”

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland and borough councillor Jenny Jeffries have worked together to find an answer.

Mr Buckland said: “I’ve been very involved, trying to come up with ideas to help those affected.

"We are looking now to set up a minibus service with another provider. We contacted Akcess, which is a local company. Parents will have to pay for this service, as they used to do it with service 80.

“We want to retain a service at a sensible price and that what we are going to look at over the summer.”

Coun Jefferies, newly elected for Chiseldon and Lawn, said: “After talking to the residents most affected by this, I realised that the fallout from these changes would be massive, affecting residents of all generations who rely on this service to access work, medical treatment and education.

“But unfortunately, due to the withdrawal of funding by Wiltshire County Council, there will no longer be a service from Swindon towards Marlborough for students attending St John’s School.”

Mum Ruth Partington, 45, from Chiseldon created a Facebook group a few days ago to encourage parents to share journeys.

She said: “We set it up to see if we can work out lift shares between the Chiseldon parents because at the moment it is looking like the only option.”

“My husband works in London and I work full-time, including a lot of travelling, which means we can’t take Ollie (13) to school.

“The whole point of this is that this bus is almost certainly the busiest bus on that route all day. Saying that this route is subsided by Wiltshire CC is a red herring,” she claimed. “Our kids don’t get free or subsidised travel. We pay the going rate.”

A spokesman for Stagecoach said: “ One consequence is that there will no longer be a journey from Swindon towards Marlborough for students attending St John’s School.

“We understand that Wiltshire Council are considering alternative travel arrangements with the school, most likely using a different provider.

“We will continue to work with Wiltshire Council to respond to any customer feedback following these changes”