Parents of children with special needs are calling on officials to address a transport crisis gripping hundreds of families.

Waltham Forest Council and contractors CT Plus gave parents just a few days’ notice about changes to bus routes to and from school, including different pick-up points.

The new system means youngsters with learning difficulties and physical disabilities have to wait on busy main roads instead of outside their homes.

Samantha Halil, 34, is calling for urgent action before someone gets hurt.

The mother-of-four’s son Blake, five, has autism and is unable to stand still while waiting for the bus in Chingford’s Old Church Road.

“Blake gets very upset and he pulls towards the road because he’s fed up with waiting,” she said.

“It’s a very busy road as a lot of drivers use it to access the North Circular Road.

“He’s meant to get picked up at 8.12am and last week the bus didn’t arrive until 8.45am. It’s not good enough. I’ve got three other children to get to different schools.

“We were not given enough time to prepare the children for the new routes. Autistic children are very routine-led and they can have meltdowns if something goes wrong.

“There are more than 250 parents with special needs children in our group affected by this. It’s shocking.”

Danny Herbert signed his autistic son Charlie, 16, up for transport training with the council earlier this year.

But to his dismay, he was told in August that they would not be running the training due to “staff issues”.

This has meant Mr Herbert and his wife Cleo have to drive their son to and from college every day, meaning they are late for work and have to leave early in the evenings.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Sheema Luca, left, with her eight-year-old son Massimo, who has to wait on a main road for his school bus in the mornings

Mr Herbert said: “It’s absolutely appalling from start to finish.

“Without the training, Charlie would not have the confidence to use public transport.

“Although CT Plus said he had been allocated a place on their bus, he was not.”

Sheema Luca received a letter from CT Plus in June stating that her son Massimo, eight, had been refused SEN (special educational needs) transport to Brookfield House School in Alders Avenue, Woodford Green.

Upon appeal, the transport was reinstated, but other parents who had not applied for it had received the same letters, pointing to a case of blanket refusal.

Mrs Luca, 42, says the company have also downright refused to take Massimo, who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, to a hospice for respite until the transport fiasco has been rectified and are refusing to pick him up from home.

She said: “Children used to get picked up from their houses but now there’s pick-up points on main roads. It is chaos.

“Last week we were waiting 37 minutes for the bus. What happens when it’s raining and cold? He is prone to chest infections.

“He gets agitated if he’s waiting and sometimes he gets so distressed that he can vomit.”

A spokesman for Waltham Forest Council said: “In line with other local authori-ties, Waltham Forest Council has changed its transport arrangements for chil-dren with special educational needs to give the majority of parents a pickup and drop-off point close to their child’s home.

“This move is designed to reduce the journey times for the children travelling to and from school.

“Our provider, CT Plus, failed to inform parents of these pickup and drop-off points until days before the new school term began.

“We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused and we are working with CT Plus and affected schools to ensure all concerns about transport arrange-ments are effectively dealt with.

“All parents who have contacted us will receive the outcome of their enquiry shortly along with an apology for any problems they have experienced.”

The council is encouraging parents experiencing problems to contact them.

CT Plus said it would be following the council’s lead in dealing with the issues and not be commenting further.