The Liberal Government must address health and safety concerns for students travelling on school buses in the state’s South East.
Labor Leader Rebecca White, said parents have expressed concerns about overcrowding on some school runs, with large numbers of students forced to stand while travelling at high speeds on the highway.
“With students now back in the classroom, we’ve heard from a number of parents who are concerned that students are being forced to stand during trips to and from school,” Ms White said.
“In one case, parents raised concerns after 28 students were forced to stand for the entire trip between Sorell and McKillop College in Mornington.
“Not only is this dangerous for students with crowded buses travelling long distances on the highway at speeds of up to 110 kilometres an hour, but there is a heightened level of worry given COVID-19 concerns.
“Despite raising these concerns with the government, the response has been dismissive, with the Minister responsible Michael Ferguson saying buses are operating within their legal operational limits.
“Minister Ferguson even made the laughable statement that if the government provided more bus services, it would increase traffic congestion.
“With many parents having lost their job or hours or working from home due to COVID-19, fewer are driving and there is more demand for bus transport for students.
“The government needs to recognise the wide-reaching impacts of COVID-19 and ensure that students can travel safely on bus services to and from school without standing crushed together for the entire journey because there aren’t enough seats to sit down.
“In recent weeks, the government increased bus services in the North West in response to concerns raised by parents about overcrowding on buses between Ulverstone, Penguin and Burnie.
They must now increase bus services in the South East for students travelling on overcrowded buses to ensure they, too, can travel safely.”
Rebecca White MP