What will be the impact if school buses are made available for community purposes?

Hello and welcome to the discussion forum on the review of school bus services in regional SA.

What options and implications are there should school buses be available for community purposes?

Read the Review of School Bus Services Terms of Reference(Opens in a new window) and the SA School Transport Policy(Opens in a new window) and provide your feedback in the discussion below.

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Kasey Cunneen

15 Feb 2019

Potential challenges associated with community use of school buses are:
- Duty of Care - Children accessing school buses are often as young as 3-4 years of age. The safety of our children should be everyone’s number one priority. Allowing community members & strangers to have access to our students while on bus runs shouldn’t even be a consideration. Will anyone wishing to access or travel on the bus be required to have clearance checks?
Children are vulnerable and deserve the right to a safe environment free of potential predators and increased risks. If bus runs are open to the public who will ensure intoxicated or drug effected community member’s aren’t allowed on with children? Will this responsibility fall back onto the bus driver only? Or will increased supervision be provided? These sorts of incidents & altercations need to be considered. Often rural towns don’t have instant access to police services and our children plus the bus driver would be left in a very vulnerable, unsafe position.
- Schools needs around bus use for excursions, camps, transporting students for vaccinations, etc. should always be priority. Opening the buses for community purposes could impact the opportunities our children can access outside of the school yard.
- Increased maintenance, wear & tear and care will be required. With increased use come increased issues. Will checks of the bus be performed after all community use to ensure our children don’t come into contact with undesirable items possibly left from previous community bus users (such as weapons & syringes).
- If buses are in use by a community group and are running late for a number of reasons to return bus for school drop offs, our students with will be left without a reliable service to return them safetly to home.
- Buses onsite 100 percent of the school day also makes the evacuation of all students if needed possible. With the threat of bushfires in many parts of SA, schools need a reliable form of transport if a whole school evacuation is ever required (threats are not only limited to bushfires).

Leah Breen

15 Feb 2019

... one would hope that such an initiative would result in a greater use of public resources to support the public.

Sarah Kathryn

15 Feb 2019

I agree all school children, regardless of school attended should have bus access. However, I have serious concerns about public access to school buses when being used by school children. I understand the benefits to rural communities, if the bus is driving right past but I do not feel that a community member having a police clearance is enough to ensure that our children are safe.
In remote areas where it may not be reasonable to do another pick up out of the school run, adults perhaps need a bus pass (requiring more than just a police check) and designated seating for community members.
It is a difficult task for a bus driver to concentrate on the road and monitor a full, large bus of 4-18 year old children, (and potentially community members too) perhaps providing a trained extra adult as a bus supervisor would help with bus safety. Then the driver can concentrate on driving.

Leanne Lang

15 Feb 2019

If the school buses were made available for community purposes it would prove beneficial to regional communities by providing;
-Access to health services
-Access to other community services
-Access to employment, education and training
-Financial benefits within the community, local business & departments
-Overcome isolation, promote a sense of community and encourage social interaction

Abbie Tiller

14 Feb 2019

School busses are for students. All students, no matter what school should have a right to use government busses, if that is the only service available in their area.
My biggest concern about school busses, which is not being addressed, is adequate supervision. A school bus driver needs to prioritise driving safely- which cannot be done while they are also supervising students aged from 4-17. I fear for the safety of bus drivers and students, particularly on regional and remote roads.

Mandy McAuley

14 Feb 2019

First and foremost the school bus needs to be available to students. I can see that it could possibly work opening it up to the wider community when not required by the school (if it means keeping the bus for the students) but how will community excursions then impact on the timeframe allocated to getting students to and from school? I don't agree with students travelling with other bus users besides Teachers/Volunteers. It could benefit wider community but at what cost to its intended use.

Martin Hayes

14 Feb 2019

-greater access for community members to things such as: health services, community events, further education, training and employment
-overcome isolation

Government Agency

School Bus Review team

14 Feb 2019

Thankyou for participating in the online discussion in response to the school bus review currently being conducted for school buses in regional South Australia. All responses will be considered and collated at the end of the consultation, which will assist in forming the report to Government.

Sophie Millington

13 Feb 2019

In a rural community bus access would allow for better access to health services, community events, education, training and employment. It would also help in overcoming isolation which most of our regional areas experience.

George Millington

13 Feb 2019

The community will then have access to health services, community events, financial benefits and access to further education and training. This will help overcome isolation that rural communities experience.

Vesper Tjukonai

13 Feb 2019

Child safety is an important issue. So is access to town services in isolated places. In small communities, people are usually known to one another. School buses can get caught in traffic hazards and emergency situations, and having more than one responsible adult on board who can assist could be of benefit. What about a registration system for prospective adult bus travellers? People who use rural medical transport schemes already need to register first.

Jo Williams

12 Feb 2019

My main concern would be child safety. As a parent who's children travel 80km to and from school everyday on a bus, it is comforting knowing who is travelling on the bus with my children and who is in charge of their safety. As our children are currently under the protection of the individual Schools and Education Department when they are travelling on our busses, I fear if the busses were to be made public, there would be less accountability for our children's safety. Who would have responsibility for our children if the service was to move to a public system?

I can see a positive if the buses were able to be rented out the community outside of the times when children are using them for school transfers.

Karly Proctor

12 Feb 2019

Making the buses available for community purposes would have a positive impact in rural and remote areas. They could be utilised for social, education and sporting purposes. It would also make it more cost effective for people that may have not been able to otherwise afford travel.

Anna McVann Hawker

11 Feb 2019

Public transport Regional areas has been on the political agenda for as long as I can remember. Lack of public transportation in regional areas leads to isolation for many which can result in many other morbities which in turn result in people becoming more dependent on services for assistance. If school buses were made available for community purposes there would be massive social, health and financial benefits to both the government and the community. This would also allow greater access to further education, training, employment and general health and well being.

Christine Kemp

11 Feb 2019

Absolutely, as most regional communities do not support a bus service which disadvantages the entire community. But with consideration to child safety and the requirements around people working with children, I would suggest that it not be a shared arrangement. That is, once the school run is complete in the morning, the bus becomes a community bus until school pick up.

Chad Trethowan

11 Feb 2019

No problem with all school kids, regardless of school locality or "status", accessing the services.

Also good idea to find other purposes for buses whilst they would otherwise be parked up.

Where I definitely and wholeheartedly draw the line is for people are accessing buses who are not school related, specifically when talking about our most venerable primary school age kids.

This is asking for all kinds of trouble and as a minimum additional strain on law enforcement.

The last thing such communities need is something to happen to one of our kids as a result of a predator being able to have another, relatively easy, avenue of access to our most precious.

Keep school buses for the kids!

Chelisa Chelisa

11 Feb 2019

As a parent of children that catch the bus to and from school, I am very concerned the impact this could have. Currently if we want to participate in some school activities, as a parent, we have to obtain a police clearance to do so.

Why on earth would we then want our children sharing the school bus with anyone and everyone putting them at high risk. Currently students as young as 4 catch the bus to and from school and it would be inappropriate to have an adult stranger sitting next to our children. Scary for the children and scary for the parents that are well aware of the possible ramifications of this.

I would be more comfortable that the bus remained as school students only during morning and afternoon to and from school trips. If absolutely necessary the bus could be utilised during school hours for the wider community.

Jason Gilles

11 Feb 2019

I am open minded about this but the focus of school buses should be on their primary task- delivering students to and from school.

Lauren Hill

10 Feb 2019

Over weekends and school holidays, even during the school day when the buses are sitting dormant, by being lent to other community groups/sporting clubs it could be a real money maker. And if the wider community were to be utilising the bus when students were on board, providing the students got first priority to a seat, then i see no harm in it, especially in rural communities such as ours. It could be a real money saver when it comes to fuel and wear and tear on personal vehicles.

Shane Rowe

08 Feb 2019

This is the smart collaboration that is needed in the wider communities which have no public transport available. After all the monies used comes from the same bucket of money, and this could be a huge reflief too many. This again would have to be collaborated through the rights channels such as police checks - certain sections are allocated for students at one end of the bus and other user the other section.
We live 60 km away from school and our children go to school now - but With the cost of running cars and fuel it could be a survivor for some. I have no problems with this if it’s done smartly.

Tamara Philps

07 Feb 2019

We live in a country town with no public transport. I see this as a positive thing, as there are many elderly residents, disabled people, people who cannot drive or have no license who would use this service to their own advantage.

Government Agency

School Bus Review team

07 Feb 2019

Thankyou for taking the time to join our online discussion in relation to the review of school bus services in regional South Australia. All the feedback we receive during this consultation phase will be considered as part of the review and collated to form part of the report to Government.

Damian Smith

07 Feb 2019

I imagine that this would be well-received in most regional and remote areas. It would support and create new opportunities for the local community to access a range of services and events. This may help address the disparities between metropolitan and regional/remote communities; given that country communities are often over-represented in the statistics about low education, health and wellbeing.

Danielle Short

06 Feb 2019

What a fantastic Idea, to be able to hire the buses out to the general community for other events/functions when not in use.
For parents attending school performances, events, fundraisers, meetings etc
Also a great way to control behavior of naughty children on the bus if adults are present.
children safety obviously is number 1.
as stated in previous statements, great idea especially in isolated area's.

Nikki Atkinson

06 Feb 2019

I think to be able to hire the buses out to the general community for other events/functions when not in use for the school's is a great idea. It is already a resource that is being payed for by the government - essentially us as tax payers is resourceful and much more economical.
I agree with other comments that if they are used by the general public whilst on route to/from school this will need to be monitored, & as long as the children safety is number 1.
Great idea especially in isolated area's.