Parents were left gobsmacked when a taxi driver made a 300-mile trip from Essex to Cornwall just to drop their children off at school four miles away.
The driver from Braintree is employed to take pupils to and from North Petherwin Primary School, near Launceston.
But to skim down his massive commute, he spends his weekdays at a Travelodge across the Cornish border at Sourton Cross, near Okehampton, in Devon.
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Dad, Adam Paynter, told Essex Live: “It’s unbelievable. If I told you that down the pub, you’d think I was having a laugh, and I’d had too many drinks.”
Mr Paynter who represents Launceston North and North Petherwin on Cornwall Council, said it was a "complete waste of money" and questioned whether the local authority are using public funds appropriately.
But the council claim it's just a temporary measure and insist they're not paying for the relocation of taxi staff.
Mr Paynter said his three children used to get a lift to school from a council-funded minibus.
But it was changed over to a taxi service with operators coming from further and further away.
He said: “Last year, it was slightly odd that the tender was given to A2B Taxis in Truro.
"He was driving up from Truro just to take my son and the two girls to the local primary school, going back to Truro and then coming back in the afternoon to take them home.
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"That’s a good 110-mile-plus round trip.
"I didn’t think it was that clever – surely they could find a nearer taxi?”
But Mr Paynter was flabbergasted when he found out A2B hasn't been awarded the contract for the new school year and instead a taxi driver from 250 away in Shropshire turned up.
But the icing on the cake came when a driver from the same Essex firm was sent from 300 miles away.
He added: “The driver from Essex is staying at a Travelodge at Sourton Cross, near Okehampton, and he’s just doing the pick-ups and drop-offs either end of the day for three kids to go to North Petherwin School, and he lives in Essex, and he’ll drive back on Friday afternoon.
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"You wonder what he’s going to do for the other 10 hours of the day. Can you believe it?”
He scowled: “You’ve got someone coming down from Essex; the kids don’t know them – this is the second driver they’ve had in five days. Who’s going to turn up next week? Are they going to come from Edinburgh?”
But the council stressed it was only a short term measure and said: “A company called 24/7 Taxis who specialise in school transport and operate across multiple local authorities, have established themselves in Cornwall. The company is employing new drivers locally and their Cornwall operation is based here.
“The demand for school transport is growing and, until now, we have not had enough taxi companies to cater for this need.
Cornwall Council is not paying for the temporary relocation of staff, the cost of their travel to and from Cornwall or their accommodation.
"It is very much a short-term measure while more drivers come through the required checks and processes before they can start work," they added.
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