Old timetable not possible
By ZOE SATHERLEY
NSW TRANSPORT boss John Lee has put it in writing to the Kirklands bus company: Shape up or lose your contract.
A spokesman for Mr Lee, the Director-General of the NSW Ministry for Transport, said the letter would be posted today.
He said the letter instructs Kirklands to immediately address the problems identified since they switched to a new bus timetable three weeks ago.
There was not a specific list of problems Kirklands were expected to 'fix', he said.
"But in fixing the general problems that have been identified over the past three weeks, Kirklands will need to conduct a proper consultation process with all stakeholders, which has not been adequately done," he said.
"There is no possibility of reverting to the old timetable.
"After Mr Lee's meetings with key stakeholders in Lismore last Friday, it is clear that going back to the old timetable is not the solution.
"The changes to the old timetable were necessary to alleviate congestion but they have created a new set of problems.
"Going back to the old timetable would only bring back the old problems."
However Erwin Bates, president of the Primary Principals' Council, yesterday said a show of hands at a meeting he attended with parents last Friday showed the majority of parents wanted the old timetable reinstated.
Mr Bates said while he did not attend a principals meeting yesterday on the bus chaos issue, he had received feedback from many principals that the timetable changes were having a serious impact on some students.
He said there were children taking up to two hours to travel to or from school, with some children arriving at school as early as 8am while supervision generally did not start until 8.45am, while some children were not being picked up from school until 4pm, when classes finished at 3pm.
He said this was causing many concerns, not least of which was the legal question as to who was responsible for the care of unsu- pervised students.