I was watching this morning as the school bus went past our gate with 4 children on it that were going to college. Following behind the College bus were a number of other cars taking the primary school children to school.
I understand that to have a school bus to pick up your children you now have to live at least 2 kilometres away from the designated school for your area and then your children qualify for a school bus.
Well in our area the designated school has changed 3 times, this has happened over a short space of time and now that those school zones have changed these children can’t access the school bus because the education department has changed zones where these children go to primary school.
In the rural areas schools were built that were within walking distances for horses so there were lots of schools in rural areas. With the advent of school buses they closed a lot of these rural schools down and moved 3-4 schools into one and transported the children from their gate to the designated school.
The parents at the time had a commitment that there was going to be a school bus to pick these children up and take them to school. This commitment seems to have been forgotten by the current management of the education department. The rules have changed around who can or cannot take the school bus and where it starts and stops.
This government has committed to reduce carbon emissions and surely having a bus with 4 or 5 children on it followed by a number of cars going to virtually the same destination as the school bus is only going to create more emissions and congestion?
In other cases where there are children living reasonably close to a rural school they are expected to walk to school as they are too close to provide a bus under the current rules. Even though in some cases the children have to walk on the side of main roads with vehicles travelling at 100Km/Hr going past them. For younger children particularly this is dangerous and due to this risk most parents, rightly, drive their children to school, again creating further congestion and more emissions.
In towns and cities there are schools provided and more often than not they are only a short distance from the children’s homes. I have admit that even in this situation most parents use their cars to take them the short distance to school because they are worried about their safety, thus creating more emissions and congestion on these town and city roads. If the parents decide to send them to different school in the cities there is public transport available, but where is the public transport for the rural children?
I would like to think that government sees the rural sector as actually providing the bulk of the financial clout that keeps this country going, yet they receive bugger all. It’s time the government better looked after the rural sector children and not just a bridge for a few cyclists and walkers. $685million could provide a lot of extra school buses for our rural children.