10/15/2014 02:02 EDT | Updated 12/15/2014 05:59 EST

Coquitlam school bus service cuts leave students struggling

Students in Coquitlam are struggling to travel safely to school since the cutting of the school bus service.

Michele Petrik's 12-year-old daughter attends Maple Creek Middle School, a six-kilometre journey each way. She is within the school's vast catchment area, and is in the regular English program. Previously, she travelled by school bus—a service cancelled this year.

"It's made it very difficult for some of the get their children home from school," says Petrik.

She says it is too far to walk, and the remote nature of the area raises questions of safety, from strangers and wildlife.

The decision to cancel the buses was made without ensuring public transit was readily available, she says.

"[There is] no bus stop that goes to our school, whatsoever," she says. "It's off the beaten path a bit, nestled in the forest."

Some parents are responding to the problem by trying to organize walking clubs and looking into the possibility of a public bus service.

The Coquitlam School District says the decision was made after a public consultation lasting three months, and cuts had to be made.