Anger mounts over bus timetables
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
NINE-year-old Aleisha Lawrence was yesterday left stranded alone in South Lismore after one of her school buses left without her.
The Wyrallah Road Public School student's parents have lodged a complaint with bus company Kirklands.
There have been around 200 complaints lodged by parents over timetable changes. They say the changes have caused chaos in the past week.
Aleisha, who lives at Goonellabah, previously only had to catch one bus which got her home at 3.45pm.
She now has to change to a second bus at South Lismore which arrives at Goonellabah at 5pm.
However, yesterday the first bus ran 10 minutes late after the door jammed at one of its stops.
When Aleisha arrived at South Lismore Public School to change to her second bus, she realised it had already gone.
"I was really scared and started crying," she said.
Fortunately, Aleisha remembered her aunty lived nearby, so she walked to her house and called her mother to pick her up.
Her mother, Rhonda Lawrence, is furious with Kirklands.
"Their motto is 'no child will be left stranded' but that's exactly what has happened," she said.
"If my sister didn't live in South Lismore, what would've happened to Aleisha? She's only nine years old."
Kirklands is owned by Sydney-based bus company Buslines.
Buslines spokesman Peter Ferris yesterday supported statements made by Kirklands general manager Peter Shepherd that the timetable changes would benefit more people than those who would be disadvantaged.
"When you have 7500 students, not every service is going to please every student," he said. "You only hear from the people who are complaining and while we've received about 200 complaints, that's more than 7000 who haven't complained."
He said the new routes and timetables would be reviewed daily to address further complaints received.