Published: 06 August 2018

A new York Street and Flowerdale-Preolenna bus service will start on Monday for students at Boat Harbour Primary School.

The new service is in response to issues with overcrowding on the existing bus service to and from the school and reports of children sitting in aisles for long periods of time on winding rural roads.

Murchison independent MLC Ruth Forrest this year raised the problem with the government, citing a 2013 audit which found there were 86 children eligible for the service with a vehicle capacity of 96 children – with 17 children standing.

But she said the school’s population had grown since then.

“I have been informed that the number of children eligible to access the service is now 104, which exceeds the total vehicle capacity of the existing bus even with standing passengers,” Mr Forrest said.

“Drivers are aware of their duty of care and will not leave children unattended and so are not in a position to refuse service if the number of children exceeds the vehicle’s capacity.”

She requested a mini bus be provided to the school to assist with capacity issues and that, in the longer term, a review of regulations be conducted to consider the appropriateness of having children sitting three to a seat unrestrained on a rural bus service.

Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff has ordered a review of the situation by the State Growth and Education Departments.

The State Growth Department has no record of injuries to students as a result of falling off a seat or being forced to stand in an aisle.

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