School's out for bus run as drivers take a stand
A BOYNE Valley bus contractor is refusing to transport school students from today after deeming the route too "dangerous" and "hazardous".
Operators Peter and Kaye Wilson say the 20km dirt section of Gladstone-Monto Rd between Many Peaks and Kalpowar on the school run is "not of a safe standard".
They will not drive the road until it's returned to "a safe and acceptable standard".
The bus service is used by about 12 Monto State High School students from Ubobo, Builyan and Nagoorin.
The operators said in a letter to parents that government departments had failed to give assistance.
"We feel that the road is not of a safe standard and we have a duty of care to deliver your children to school safely," the letter read.
"It's very stressful on ourselves, dangerous and hazardous for your children and extremely hard on our vehicle.
"We have been corresponding with the relevant departments for some months and getting nowhere and this is why we have taken a stand."
Mr Wilson told The Observer the road was in the worst state he had seen since starting the run 25 years ago.
Road safety in the Boyne Valley is a hot topic.
Earlier this year Ubobo residents petitioned against the number of trucks travelling Gladstone-Monto Rd.
In July state member for Callide Colin Boyce took then opposition spokesman for transport and main roads Steve Minnikin in a semi-trailer from Biloela for a 1200km trip around the electorate.
Mr Minnikin said he was "appalled" by the condition of some roads.
Residents are lobbying local and state governments to fix the stretch of Gladstone-Monto Rd.
Long-term resident Mark McLachlan has organised a public meeting on the issue at Builyan on May 8.
"Peter and Kaye Wilson are very fair people so we want to express our support for them...," Mr McLachlan said.
Mr Boyce responded via a letter: "The reason the roads are in such a state of disrepair is because of a gross deficiency in funding."
Yesterday he called for the road to be upgraded.
"Simply grading this road does not help as the unpaved road cannot handle the constant heavy-vehicle traffic from mining and logging trucks," Mr Boyce said.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads said it was aware of the bus operators' letter sent to parents.
A spokesperson said the unsealed section of road was graded in February and was due to be graded again today.
"We inspected the road this morning (yesterday) and found some isolated sections of potholing due to recent rainfall," a spokesperson said.
"We have been working with the operator to assess the road's condition and return school bus services to normal as quickly as possible."