As school students head back to the classroom this week, it is time for the NSW Government to step up and make sure local students can get home from school safely.
Unfortunately, many students in our region are forced to wait extraordinary times for their school bus on busy roads.
Today in NSW Parliament, Charlestown MP Jodie Harrison is calling on the Minister for Transport to take action to ensure local bus services are fulfilling the needs of students and parents.
For students from St Mary’s Catholic College at Gateshead who live in Tingira Heights and surrounding suburbs, there is a more than 45 minute wait for a school bus every afternoon.
“Parents have taken their concerns about this issue to the NSW Government and the private transport provider, Keolis Downer, but no action has been taken,” Ms Harrison said.
“In fact, since privatisation, the bus has become even later.”
A recent Upper House inquiry found that the privatisation of bus services in Newcastle has resulted in more limited service delivery, higher costs for passengers and worse pay and conditions for bus drivers.
“That is reflective of the experience of many public transport users in my electorate, and I shared those experiences during my submission to the inquiry,” Ms Harrison said.
“Parents are rightly concerned about the safety of students waiting more than 45 minutes for a bus every afternoon on the busy Pacific Highway. It is a symptom of the problems we are having with the current bus system, which is focused on profit and minimising costs rather than service.”
Ms Harrison said problems remained with changes to routes, stops and timetables occurring with comprehensive community consultation.
“I am calling on the Minister for Transport to take action to ensure all students can get home from school in a safe and timely manner,” Ms Harrison said.