According to parents, the bus takes 1 hour 15 minutes to travel 22 kilometres.
Fourteen teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 from the Hijate neighbourhood in Alcóntar spend 10 hours a day going to school in the neighbouring town of Baza, between leaving home and returning in the afternoon.
According to the parents of these children, the school transport concessionaire, with only one bus, picks up children not only from Hijate, but also from the neighbouring town of Caniles and its districts, children as young as 5 years old.
This is one of the reasons given by the parents for the pupils being away from home for nearly 10 hours, “a working day that not even the adults get to spend”.
Purificación Gil, spokesperson for the mothers’ group, tells us that her 12-year-old son “gets up at half past six in the morning and at two minutes to seven he is on the bus that takes him to the secondary school 22 kilometres from Hijate. Entering the districts of Caniles, between going up and down the sierra, the bus takes another 18 timed minutes. It is a stretch of road where you have to go at 40 and because of the movement of the bus, many kids vomit, so some prefer not to have breakfast. In short, they leave Hijate at 7 a.m. and arrive at the school at 8.15 a.m., that’s an hour and a quarter to cover 22 kilometres.
The parents complain because they claim that they have joined two bus lines, those of the school and the high school, in order to economise. “We have approached Granada, the Education and Transport departments, to make them aware of the situation because no one can work 10-hour days, as well as the danger of the children being left on the verges or waiting half an hour after school to be picked up”, continues Purificación Gil, “but they just tell us to wait”.
We are not asking for privileges,” says this mother, “we just want our children to be treated like everyone else and to have the same possibilities as those who live in bigger towns. Where is all that talk about fighting against the emptying of Spain,” she asks.
For the parents’ spokeswoman, “the solution is to take a second bus to share the route and pick up the children, although I don’t think they do it, just to make more money”.