FURIOUS parents yesterday vowed to take their fight to save schools buses all the way to the Scottish Parliament.
Mums and dads vented their anger at SNP and LibDem councillors after they refused to do a U-turn on a decision to axe kids' free school transport.
Around 100 protesters converged on Renfrewshire Council headquarters for a special meeting that was forced on the administration by the opposition Labour group.
They were hoping to win a reversal of the cost-cutting buses decision but the Nationalists and LibDems remained stoney-faced amidst a barrage of catcalls from both opposition councillors and the public who packed out the meeting.
Many irate parents and protesters clutched banners in defiance of a ban on posters in the council chamber.
The council refused to change its mind, leaving parents fuming and some Labour members shouting for the resignation of the local authority's leaders.
As emotions in the public gallery began to get heated two men were ejected by council officers after they started shouting at councillors.
One mum told the Paisley Daily Express: "They just didn't listen to us. We have got to take this further now, and take it to parliament."
The meeting came about after Labour's education spokesman, Councillor Jim Harte, tabled an emergency motion calling on the council to change its mind and axe its decision that, come August, will see only pupils living three miles or more away from their secondary school given free bus transport.
At the moment, pupils who live two miles or more from their secondary school are entitled to a free bus.
The council included the change in its annual budget, which was approved at a meeting on Monday, January 18, and it will save them £274,000.
The controversial move will affect more than 900 pupils St Andrew's Academy in Paisley; St Benedicts High School in Linwood; Gryffe High School in Houston; Gleniffer High in Paisley; Castlehead High, also in Paisley, and Paisley Grammar School.
Many parents, along with Labour councillors, claim the new rules will put children's lives in danger as they will be forced top walk alongside busy roads.
Councillor Harte told the meeting: "Our children are the victims of a postcode lottery. The fact is, school buses remain the safest way to get out young people to school."
However, the ruling group tabled an amendment to Councillor Harte's motion, stating that safety issues had been addressed.
Significantly, point three of the amendment stated that "meetings with representatives from SPT (Strathclyde Partnership for Transport) are taking place to discuss alternative bus provision".
This led to claims from Labour that the administration had conceded that the opposition's point of view was valid and that buses were essential to get children safely to school.
Veteran SNP Councillor Bruce McFee pointed to what he claimed was Labour's failure to come up with its own answer to the council's need to save cash.
He said: "Not one of them has yet come forward with a sensible alternative."
Following the meeting fuming parents held an impromptu gathering of their own to vent their anger.
One grandmother added: "I'm an old age pensioner and here's my bus pass. I'd gladly give it up if the children could get their school buses."
Another mum added: "These councillors and officials are so arrogant. They think they are so far above us and don't have listen to us.
"But they aren't and they'll find that out when it comes to votes."
Conservative members voted with Labour but it wasn't enough to change the outcome.
The council voted 19 to 17 to keep the plans to axe the bus service in place.
Wendy Alexander, MSP for Paisley North, said: "Cloth ears to the concerns of parents just fuels parents' cynicism about councillors removing their school buses.
"Today's vote was very close. Council officials still need to respond to parents' real fears.
"I am calling on the convener of education and the director of education to meet as soon as possible with the chairs of all the affected parents' councils.
"Where there is a will there is a way. The council could agree to the contract for new bus services on these routes. The council should be willing to run the tendering process to ensure each route is covered and we do not add further to congestion of Renfrewshire road by hundreds of extra parents crowding onto our roads from August.
"It is not reasonable to expect every affected child to go on a normal bus service. I have the case of a constituent in Ferguslie with two children at St. Benedict's who will have to fork out £71 per month for two zonecards, £35.80 each child, from August.
Quite simply, she could not afford the cost.