Overcrowding on school buses not good enough, say parents

ISSUES allegedly occurring with school bus services between Maclean High and Yamba are causing concerns for parents, with reports of overcrowding and students getting home late from school.

It is understood two buses run from Maclean High to the Yamba area after school - the first via Angourie and the second to the Yamba Fair shopping centre bus stop.

Students keen to get home quickly, including many who have passes for the second bus, are thought to be rushing to get on the first bus, filling it to capacity.

Students who have passes for the first bus are then being turned away to catch the relatively less-crowded second bus, making them arrive home up to half an hour later than expected.

A mother of a Year 7 Maclean High School student, who did not wish to be named, said her daughter had arrived home late several times since school went back as she had not been allowed on her designated bus because it had already filled up.

The parent said the school or bus company should be checking bus passes to ensure students travelled on the correct one, which would hopefully ease the imbalance.

Parents and students vented their frustrations on The Coastal Views' Facebook page this week.

"I have to catch that bus and it's extremely crowded..." student Chris Zaffis wrote.

"My Year 7 girl had to sit on the front steps to fit on her first bus trip home. Not impressed," parent Gabrielle Hawke wrote.

A number of the Facebook users said they'd made complaints to the bus company and had been assured the issues were being investigated.

A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education and Communities confirmed Maclean High School had recently received a number of complaints from parents about overcrowding on buses and students arriving late to school and late home.

He said the bus company which serviced the route (Busways) had made adjustments to its school route timetable in late 2012 but complications had only started to emerge this year when school went back.

"Changes brought by the altered timetable were not apparent last year because Year 12 students and some others were no longer attending towards the end of term 4," the spokesman said.

The spokesman said Maclean High School was working with Busways to iron out the issues.

As to students deliberately getting on the wrong bus, he said this was out of the school's hands.

"School staff supervise students getting off and on the buses in an orderly way, but the primary responsibility for getting on the right bus is a matter for the students and drivers," the spokesman said.

Busways has been contacted for comment and its response will be printed when received.

Topics:  overcrowding school

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