Timetables provoke one-woman crusade
By RACHEL SCOLLAY
URALBA mother Tamsin Jackson is on a one-woman crusade to try and force Kirklands to change its timetables.
She's organising a public meeting and a petition and yesterday she spoke to the regional manager at the NSW Department of Transport, telling him to 'get up here'.
"I'll drive him around if I have to," she said. "But he should get up here to see for himself the overcrowding.
"I have a diary full of stories from parents who have rung me about their kids and how long their trips are and what time they get home.
"The children should be gaining an education, not a tour of the countryside.
"Child safety is being compromised by them being left unattended, arriving before playground supervision in most school cases.
"Who's responsible for them?
"Do we have to have someone hurt or abducted or killed before anyone stands up and takes notice."
Mrs Jackson said yesterday she learned that school buses were supposed to drop off children not more than half an hour before the school bell, and pick them up not more than half an hour after the bell.
"Well, Kirklands have breached that part of their contract," she said.
Mrs Jackson said when she and other parents called Kirklands with specific complaints they were met with a blanket response.
"That the changes were to improve travel times for the majority of students," she said.
"They are not giving us answers. Who's travel time is improved?
"Prove it, show it."
Mrs Jackson said she was urging parents to put complaints in writing and forward them to their local State MP or the Department of Transport.
She is also working with Lismore MP Thomas George's office to organise a public meeting and a centralised petition.
Meanwhile, Mr George said he was shocked to see Kirklands general manager Peter Shepherd say that reducing violence and bullying at Lismore's main school bus interchange was a driving factor behind the changes.
After being inundated with complaints, Mr George said he'd had discussions with Kirklands, and violence at the interchange had never been cited as a reason.
"So to see that in the headlines came as a shock to me," he said.
Tamsin Jackson can be contacted on 6628 5626.
n What do you think?
Phone the Star Feedback line on 6624 3266 or email opin- firstname.lastname@example.org