A decade of dwindling budgets has seen councils halve the number of lollipop men and women employed across north Wales, new figures have revealed.
While there were at least 147 school patrol staff employed across the region in 2008/09, this figure has been slashed to just 72 in 2019/20.
While some schools have closed over the past decade it is also a result of dwindling budgets at town halls across north and mid Wales, with the cost of a single part-time lollipop man or woman varying from £2,500 to £9,000 a year.
Anglesey Council employed 17 in 2013/14 but will have none at all from September 2019 following a decision to scrap the service.
A spokesman for the council said that such staff were “not mandatory”, with the move saving taxpayers £58,000 a year.
But the authority has come under criticism from one councillor who has accused decision makers of “penny pinching”, adding that such staff provide a safety aspect as well as helping children avoid traffic.
“School crossing patrol did far more than cross children over roads,” said Cllr Shaun Redmond of Holyhead.
“They were eyes and ears looking out for unsavoury characters and possible other dangers to children. With that gone, children are at greater risk.
“As part of investigating the impact of ending the remaining School Crossing Patrols on Anglesey, our officers have assessed the sites in line with guidance,” added the spokesman.
“None of the remaining school sites met the criteria for a School Crossing Patrol or any formal crossing to be recommended, with the exception of Ysgol Kingsland.
“We are therefore investigating the possibility of a zebra crossing at this location and will also be investigating any other potential improvements required at the other sites.
“The last remaining eight school crossing patrols finished at the end of the last academic year. We are, of course, extremely grateful for the service our School Crossing Patrol attendants have given over the years.”
Meanwhile a spokesperson for Gwynedd Council, which has seen the biggest drop – from 40 in 2008/09 to just 15 in 2019/20, said: “Pedestrian safety is a priority for Gwynedd Council and when a crossing patrol post becomes vacant the Council considers all possible safety measures in accordance with national road safety guidelines.
“We would also note that the recruitment of new school crossing patrol officers can be challenging.”
Locations no longer patrolled compared with 10 years ago: Llanelltyd, Deiniolen, Penisarwaun, Tremadog, Llanllyfni, Penygroes, Caernarfon x 3, Bangor x 4, Blaenau Ffestiniog x 2, Trawsfynydd, Y Ffor, Bala, Friog, Bontddu, Minffordd, Dyffryn Ardudwy, Llwyngwril, Rhostryfan, Llanrug.
School crossing patrol staff 2019/20: 11 (permanent) 5 (relief)
Waterfall Crossroads, Dyserth
Puffin Crossing, Rhuddlan Road, Rhyl
A494 – Gwyddelwern. Serving Ysgol Gwyddelwern School
School crossing patrol staff 2019/20: 8 (permanent) 1 (relief) 1 (vacant post)
Llanarth, Ciliau Parc, Llechryd, Penrhyncoch, Talybont, Llanwnnen