Standing room on school buses alarms local mum

PARENTS have approached Premier Coaches with concerns of overcrowding due to recent changes to bus timetables.

Wrights Beach mother of three Michelle Jones-Gardiner said two of her children catch the bus to and from Nowra each day and she was concerned about the number of children standing in bus aisles.

“It appears to be like they’ve cut a bus service to Wrights Beach … it’s the afternoon service I’m extremely concerned about with overcrowding, forcing children to stand in the aisle down a highway, which has a speed limit of 100km/h,” she said.

“It’s extremely dangerous and putting our kids’ safety at risk. If they have a crash at that speed, even at a lesser speed, it would be horrific.

“Don’t even get me started on the primary school bus that now leaves at 7.50am for a 10-minute bus trip to school, which doesn’t start until 8.45am. 

“It’s ridiculous.

“I’m yet to hear back from the company.”

Mrs Jones-Gardner believed changes to the Vincentia primary school bus were done to accommodate high school students who start school earlier.

“The high school did issue an email about which services would be affected by the changes and I know some students were given notes from bus drivers for the primary school, but I didn’t get one of these,” she said.

“I know there are other parents who have similar concerns and have raised these with the bus company too.

“I’m concerned about these kids. We are lucky in this area that we haven’t had a bus accident, but just because it hasn’t happened doesn’t mean it won’t and the result of a crash could be fatal.”

Premier Coaches compliance manager Greg Abel said the changes made from March 31 were part of an annual review the company makes for bus services.

“At the beginning of the year we assess our services with the changing demographic and alter those services accordingly, to make sure our entire network is looked after,” Mr Abel said.

“We are currently reviewing some of the concerns we received from some parents and hope to confirm any changes by mid-next week.

“There are always changes to timetables as students change schools and addresses which is why we assess these services at the beginning of each year.”

Mr Abel said Premier Coaches’ services are not overloaded. 

“The maximum number of passengers varies from vehicle to vehicle,” he said.

“Our drivers know they are not allowed to take any more passengers than permitted.

“It’s unfortunate that some people may feel they’re disadvantaged by these changes, but our service goal is to suit the entire network.”

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