A PARENT has spoken out against Torfaen council’s decision to cut transport for disabled students over the age of 18 to the Crosskeys campus at Coleg Gwent.

The council currently provides transport to the college for all disabled students, picking them up from and dropping them off to their homes, all the while accompanied by a trained member of staff.

However, from September, this service will only be available for students 18 years old or younger.

Torfaen council said that the change in policy is to bring it in to line with the policies of the other Gwent councils.

The council is the last of the Gwent authorities to provide assisted transport for over-18-year-olds.

Gerwyn Evans’ son Jacob Williams is one of the students who will be affected by the change.

Mr Evans said that the reduction in the service is “ridiculous.”

He said: “These kids have got needs. They need this education, and for them to withdraw the transport, you may now have families that struggle to get their children to school.

“They could go for cheaper options. These would probably not have a qualified person on board to deal with any situation that may arise with the kids.

“The alternative being discussed at a meeting for parents on Monday was a minibus for six children which would collect them from a central point.

“This would cost £800 a week, which would be about £130 per family.

“Are these minibuses going to be fully conditioned for the needs of the children? My boy has Dravet syndrome. This means he is epileptic and has mobility issues. If he has a fit, he needs to have that qualified person on board.


'Time to call it a day': Family-owned high street shop closes down.Man sent to prison for breaching Newport city centre begging ban near cash points.Police are hunting a dogwalker who 'kicked Jack Russell terrier to death' in a park.

“With the traffic in Pontypool in the mornings, I will be just as quick taking him to college myself as I would be taking him to a central point, whether it is the Active Living Centre or Pontypool Tesco.

“Being self-employed, I am able to do that. But other parents might struggle to fit it around their jobs.

“Most employers are pretty understanding, but you can’t go to them and say I have to take my child to school at 9am and pick them up again at 3pm. It just doesn’t fit in around your usual 9am to 5pm job.

“It’s just putting extra burdens on the families. It seems another penny-pinching plan at the expense of some of the most vulnerable people in the borough.

“They put the council tax up six per cent to supposedly help the most vulnerable in our borough.

“For under 18s, the service is still going to be provided, so are they going to be having half full buses still running to and from Crosskeys?”

Torfaen council said that the change in policy will affect 10 families.

A council spokesman said: “As part of the council’s new adult social care assisted transport policy adopted in April, the service will no longer be providing transport for students aged 19 or over to Crosskeys College from September 2019.

“This is in line with all the other council social care transport policies in Gwent.

“A member of staff has met with the small number of families affected by this decision to consider independent transport arrangements and sharing transport costs.”

The council spokesman said that the policy was not a cost cutting measure, but was simply bringing its policy in line with the other Gwent councils.

Mr Evans received a letter from Coleg Gwent confirming his son’s place at the college next year, although it did warn that transport provided by the council would not be available for some students in the upcoming school year.

It read: “Transport through the local authority may not be available, however, a number of students have shared transport previously through a private taxi.

“If transport is an issue and you would like to share your contact details with individuals who have transport difficulties, please complete the paperwork below.”