Yesterday’s Shropshire Star reported some profligate spending of the most ridiculous kind by Shropshire County Council.
The council, who tender out contracts to taxi firms taking local children to and from school, have been paying for a taxi to travel around 600 miles per week in order to take the children of one family on the five-mile trip to school.
The taxi starts its journey in Nescliffe, near Oswestry and then travels 35 miles to its first pick-up in Quatt, near Brignorth, from there it goes to Kings Nordley and then to Alveley. This journey is made twice a day and the family are bemused as to why the council can’t simply give the contract to a taxi firm in nearby Bridgnorth.
Aside from the financial cost to the taxpayer Mr.Parry, the father of the two children, points out that there is also a potential cost to the environment:
“One department of the county council are prepared to burn all that fuel but I’m expected to recycle my cornflakes packet.”
Unsurprisingly this is another council failing to practice what it preaches regarding matters of the environment…
Local councillors are similarly appalled, and yet Shropshire County Council claim that this is the most cost effective way of ferrying the children to school, though they say they will be reviewing the matter next month which suggests that the ‘most cost effective’ might be a euphemism for ‘not very cost effective at all but it will have to do for the time being’.
No figures are given so we can’t be exactly sure what this is costing the taxpayer but we can rest assured that no taxi driver would travel 600miles per week in peak hours unless it was worth his while. Only in today’s press was it revealed that Edinburgh City Council have been paying for two cleaners to take the 70-mile round trip to work in a taxi, at a cost of £180-per-day.
This is just another example of a council throwing money at a problem instead of trying to think of a sensible way around it.
Some may even question why children are being taxi-driven to school on the public purse at all. Is there no school or public bus to cover a five-mile journey? Couldn’t other parents who live locally be encouraged to take two more children on their school run? Or even teachers or staff?
The above ideas would obviously be too straight forward and no doubt they’d breach all sorts of pointless regulations of the sort that now lead councillors to the assumption that paying a taxi driver for 600miles per week is the most feasible option.
This certainly is an expensive way of doing things, and while it goes on the metre will continue to tick away for taxpayers.