CROWDED BUSES: Students heading to Lismore board the early morning school bus at Woodburn. Photo Samantha Elley / Rivertown Times
CROWDED BUSES: Students heading to Lismore board the early morning school bus at Woodburn. Photo Samantha Elley / Rivertown Times Samantha Elley

Kids at risk on buses

CHILDREN are being forced to stand for nearly an hour at a time on school buses while travelling to Lismore, an Evans Head parent has complained.

Wanting to remain anonymous, the Evans Head mother wrote to our sister newspaper The Northern Star concerned about the risks children faceeach day on their way to school.

"I have three children that travel from Evans Head to Lismore daily by bus," she wrote.

"(It's) accepted that children will endure overcrowding and be forced to stand in the aisle for long periods of time."

While buses are licensed to seat 67 and stand 21 - a total of 88 passengers - there have been instances where there have been more than that number travelling on a bus, the mother said.

"My kids told me that sometimes there could be 91 passengers and none of them are wearing seatbelts," she said.

Another Bus Crash

In response to a recent bus crash at Taree where a 12-year-old boy received minor head injuries, Greens MP and transport spokesperson Cate Faehrmann has also queried the lack of seatbelts on buses.

"It's been almost a year since the NSW Government's School Bus Safety Advisory Committee was established," Ms Faehrmann said.

"Yet we've known all along what's required: an urgent mandate on the refitting of school buses on regional routes."

Possible Danger to Students who Stand

The Evans Head mother said there had been an incident on a Lismore- bound school bus recently in which the driver had been forced to brake suddenly.

"My kids told me that all the children standing in the aisle fell over like dominoes because they had no restraint," she told The Rivertown Times.

"These kids are carrying big bags, laptops and possibly sports bags and could easily get hurt.

"If I was to drive my kids to school in my car and they didn't have a seatbelt on, I would lose my licence."

The concerned mum would like to see a change in the legislation making seatbelts mandatory on buses in NSW.

"If everyone had to wear seatbelts on buses then it would stop children from having to stand," she said.

"I realise that due to economics the bus companies won't say 'let's be the good guys' as they are within the law."

Northern Rivers Buslines was contacted to comment, but did not return our calls.



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