School bus timetable changes causing chaos
By RENEE REDMOND
JACQUIE McCALMAN is driving her children to school today to avoid the chaos of the new bus timetable and routes.
Her decision came after receiving a letter from Kirklands Buslines on Tuesday telling her that her four eight-year-old children, who go to St Carthages Primary in Lismore, would be dropped outside the school 45 minutes early.
Public routes have also been affected, with 70-year-old Goonellabah resident Edie Scobie saying her street has been left out by the new timetable.
However, Lismore Kirklands Buslines general manager Peter Shepherd said the new timetable was being assessed and changes would be made where possible.
Mrs McCalman, a mother of six from Chilcotts Grass, said she had the option of driving her children to school because she did not work.
"They're not giving us the easiest and fastest option for our kids. If the problems are not addressed I will hand in their bus passes and drive them myself," she said.
"It takes about eight minutes to get the kids to school from our home. If they catch the bus they're looking at spending about two hours a day on the bus."
Mrs McCalman was concerned about the amount of thought and consideration that was put into the new timetable.
"A friend of mine was told by her children yesterday afternoon that their buses could be 15-45 minutes late today, due to the timetable disruption," she said.
Mr Shepherd said it was important that people who have been disadvantaged by the new timetable contact the company so necessary adjustments could be made.
"You can't make change without disrupting people, and we apologise for this."
Mr Shepherd said the process would take time, but they were trying to find alternatives for children who were disadvantaged by the changes.
"There is no doubt the new timetable will offer more direct bus services to the majority of users," he said.
Mr Shepherd also denied any rumours that bus drivers or services had been cut.
"Changes have been made, but no drivers have lost their jobs," he said.
"We'll be doing similar kilo- metres and hours to what we've always done."
Mrs Scobie said she received a phone call yesterday from Kirklands after making a complaint about the new timetable for the Lismore buses.
She said Kirklands had arranged two school buses to divert into her street on Tuesday and Thursday to pick her and her husband up specially.
"I appreciate what they're doing, but it's not fair on every- one else," she said.