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well was I?

(39 Posts)
THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Tue 17-Dec-13 18:13:14

dd gets a taxi to and from school along with other local kids funded by the local council transport team. This taxi company apparently won the contract just this year, previously it had been a mini-bus company.

Anyway, if for some reason dd isn't going to take the taxi either way, I always let the company know so they aren't waiting for her.

Once the company drove off without two local girls after waiting for just 2 minutes because he had to pick up someone from another village. Luckily he drove back that way and saw the girls walking along a dangerous stretch of country road and stopped to pick them up.

Another time dd told me that the driver who takes them on Monday mornings, who is usually, in her words, hungover, once acted like he was drunk and started weaving the car across the road in time to the music on the radio.

That time I phoned the company, explained my fears but didn't make an official complaint because I was happy they had taken me seriously and would make sure it didn't happen again. There was no real evidence he was drunk and I didn't want him to lose his job over one stupid moment.

Today dd told me that the taxi had set off from school without her. She was a few minutes late because she had to make her way back to her cooking classroom to pick up her cooking. When she got out the taxi was gone. She went into Pupil Reception who phoned me first (I was out picking up ds) and then the taxi company who had to get the taxi to turn round and collect her.

I called them when she told me so that I could explain why she was late and that she would normally let them know if ever she wasn't going to be there. The woman on the other end of the phone was obviously very defensive from the start, I think she had presumed I was about to launch into a complaint although to be fair, it should have been obvious from the start that I was doing no such thing (friendly tone of voice, kept telling her that I agree, etc).

She was rude throughout the conversation. Told me that they are only meant to wait for pupils for 5 minutes and the driver had waited for 6 minutes and because he had to go back for her, he was late for all his other appointments and if I wanted to complain I should ring the council. I kept telling her that she was misunderstanding me and that I wasn't blaming them at all, I was just calling to explain why she was late and really for some reassurance that they wouldn't leave her stranded at school with no other way home, although I never actually got the chance to say that last bit.

In the end she was so aggressive I put the phone down. I then phoned the council to make an official complaint.

I'm taken aback by her response and wonder if I am being unreasonable? Obviously dd WAS late, by her own admission, but I was trying to explain that there was a genuine reason for that - she just kept saying how were they to know and they can't wait forever. I understood that but in the end it was clear she wasn't listening to a word I was trying to say.

I'm now worried in case dd suffers repercussions from the taxi company and given the previous problems, I wonder if I should try and make alternative arrangements for her? Or even tell the council the whole story (I've only told them what happened today)

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Tue 17-Dec-13 18:54:33

lougle I will phone the school.

Yes I can see I probably did muddy the waters. They never normally have to wait for dd at all, so I was trying to say that we do our best to ensure she is on time and always let them know if there will be a problem.

I just should never have called.

Enb76 Tue 17-Dec-13 18:58:30

I think chalk it up to experience. The woman on the other end of the phone was expecting a complaint and so heard one. That's not your fault. I personally wouldn't escalate it but... I would hit the roof if I thought my child was being taken to school by someone who might be over the limit - that's the call you should have made.

I live very rurally and we always had a little minibus thing from a taxi company to do the school run, funded by the LA. It was 4 miles to village primary and 6 miles to secondary. Now that DS is in 6th form and I drive him it's the first time I've ever had to do the school run.

Merrylegs Tue 17-Dec-13 19:02:18

I don't think there was any need to phone them tbh. They came back and got her after all. You are cross because you thought you were doing the right thing and that they would see that. Their reaction was not what you wanted so you are tagging it on to a previous misdemeanor (which DOES sound like it warrented a complaint). If it's convenient for your DD to travel like this, and more importantly, if you think she is safe, then let it go. They are not interested in your daughter's timetable or in you as a person. It's not a relationship. It's a means of getting from a to b.

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Tue 17-Dec-13 19:34:46

Merrylegs fair enough. I suppose I'm cross because I honestly wasn't expecting such an aggressive and rude attitude on the phone. Yes I did think I was doing the right thing, I wasn't expecting them to fawn over me for that, I was just anxious to maintain a good working relationship with them. It's good to know that if there are any issues with school transport you can call them and they'll try to resolve. I'm not now confident with that.

I suppose I am now tagging on previous misdemeanors (I didn't file official complaint at the time as there was no evidence that he was drunk, he was just in a very good mood and was making the car 'dance'. I didn't want him to lose his job just before Christmas so asked the company to have a word with him, ensure he wasn't drunk and ensure it didn't happen again) because I guess when something like that happens you start to think back to everything else that has happened and you begin to lose confidence in them.

I will just chalk this up to experience though and if I have to deal with them again I'll go straight to the council.

I'll also explain to the school that dd needs to catch her taxi on time so sometimes she may have to leave class a couple of minutes early.

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Tue 17-Dec-13 19:36:27

Thanks for all honest advice apart from Nigella, who can go back to reading the Daily Mail.

RandomMess Tue 17-Dec-13 19:49:01

Seeing as the phone call went so badly I wonder if it's worth send a note/card to the tax firm, thanking them for going back for dd - much appreciated and that you have spoken to the school to ensure that she is allowed time to be there for the taxi from now on?

FredFlintstonesSister Tue 17-Dec-13 19:54:12

I agree you were not unreasonable but can I also add that as a teacher I had no idea pupils who got taxis were only given a few minutes to get themselves to the pickup point! While I suppose I realised they didn't have all afternoon, I wouldn't have thought 3 minutes seemed reasonable. And more to the point, no one has informed teachers at my school about this. I'm sure there are loads if ways the situation with picking up cooking could be resolved, but not if teachers don't know there's a problem! I hope I've never made anyone miss their taxi - I'm actually quite concerned now!

MrsWedgeAntilles Tue 17-Dec-13 20:05:43

Random, that's a very good idea.

OP, I think its the school at fault here. They need to make arrangements to allow all pupils to be able to take part in all parts of the school day and get home safely. If you feel the need to let the school know that your DD may have to leave early to get her taxi then the taxi is booked too early and the school need to get onto the council to sort it out.

To be fair, I may have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about this kind of thing due to all kinds of nonsense that happened when I was traveling from a very remote village to my school. I can tell you some stories that would make your hair curl and I would but they're so mental I would be outed immediately.

MrsWedgeAntilles Tue 17-Dec-13 20:09:02

Fred, we've crossed posts, nice to hear that from a teacher's point of view. I always used to get really frustrated with the teachers not getting it but if no one had told you I suppose that make a lot of sense.

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Tue 17-Dec-13 20:27:17

Well I don't know if the school would inform individual teachers, that is up to pupils to let teachers know that they need to catch taxis. Unfortunately dd is not very confident and wouldn't speak to a teacher unless she really really had to.

No, I'm not sending a card. Sorry but her attitude was rude and aggressive whilst I was doing my best to resolve it and actually appease her. She doesn't deserve thanks for an attitude like that.

MrsWedgeAntilles Tue 17-Dec-13 21:33:06

Certainly not for her benefit, because I agree she was rude, but maybe just to keep you on a good footing with the taxi company. You shouldn't have to but I think the general good will it would generate would make you feel better about DD traveling with them.

RandomMess Tue 17-Dec-13 22:24:53

I did say a thank you card wink

RandomMess Tue 17-Dec-13 22:26:22

didn't even, sorry 2 x wine this eve!

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