Parents worried about overcrowded school buses
PARENTS who are still scrambling to register their children for the school bus run more than a week after school has started are causing chaos for the bus company and for school children.
Buslink Gladstone manager Brett Wilkins said he understood there was sensitivity around perceived bus overcrowding, but he was working with parents as best he could.
Last year his company ran four school buses to Calliope.
This year, he introduced a fifth bus to cater for the increased students with the introduction of Year 7 to high school.
However, because of a vast number of late registrations for bus passes, the company was still processing paperwork and picking up new student registrations every day.
"A lot of parents left registering their children far too late, despite being advised to do so at the end of last year," he said.
"I have tried to address parent's concerns as best I can and hopefully I can work through it as we go forward."
Calliope mum Jill Earnshaw was issued a bus pass for her son Denzell - a new Year 7 student at Chanel College - on January 9.
But last week, the bus he expected to get on was full, leaving him unsure of how to get home.
"Being in Year 7 he didn't know what to do. An older kid helped him get on another bus but I can just imagine a look of horror on his face," Mrs Earnshaw said.
"At the end of the day he got home and he was fine. But it's worrying when your kids are just starting high school.
"Do I need to get him a mobile? With these issues, should he have a phone?"
Mrs Earnshaw said she was also concerned the law permitted children to stand on school buses, particularly on 100kmh roads.
Mr Wilkins told The Observer he had instructed all his drivers to limit their speed to 80kmh when carrying standing passengers.
Newly elected state MP Glenn Butcher said he was keen to help sort out the issue.
"It's been ongoing for a few years now. It's obviously a concern and we do have students travelling from Gladstone to Calliope without seatbelts and standing up," he said.
"Officially I can't do anything about it yet but it's definitely something I'll look at once I am declared Member for Gladstone.
"Until such time as the high school is built we need to address these students travelling into Calliope as it stands now."
Mr Wilkins said once all student bus pass registrations had been processed for the year students would be allocated a specific bus to catch to and from school.
Drivers will check passes to ensure students are on the right bus.
The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads did not provide a response to The Observer.