School bus service in doubt

Parent Con Keane, his daughter Tessa and Vasse MP Libby Mettam, are concerned about a School Bus Service review examining routes that take children from as far as Augusta to Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School.
Parent Con Keane, his daughter Tessa and Vasse MP Libby Mettam, are concerned about a School Bus Service review examining routes that take children from as far as Augusta to Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School.

It is uncertain whether a school bus service taking students from Dunsborough to Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School will continue next year.

Parents who called to register their children on bus route 62 in 2018 were told by the School Bus Service that the route would not operate from next year.

However, Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes said no decision had yet been made to cancel the school route.

Mr Hynes said the authority were aware that only five students who use the bus were eligible, out of 35 students who currently use it.

“The vast majority of students accessing route 62 are not attending their nearest appropriate school – Georgiana Molloy Anglican School – they are instead travelling to the farther away Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School,” he said.

To be eligible, Mr Hynes said rural students must be enrolled at their nearest appropriate school, live more than 4.5 kilometres away from their school and reside outside a designated public transport area.

“In other words, they are not eligible and will therefore not be granted a seat on a bus, particularly when there is demand for a seat for eligible students,” he said.  

”We do not err in our commitment to those with a genuine entitlement – any eligible students will be offered a place on a bus or a conveyance allowance.”

Vasse MP Libby Mettam said 27 families would be affected by the withdrawal of the bus service putting many parents in an impossible situation.

“It is unacceptable that the government would abandon families living in a region where there are limited public transport options,” she said.

“These parents have invested in sending their children to Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School for a range of reasons in the knowledge that the state government offered this service.

“For the state government to then decide to withdraw this service undermines these parents’ choice and their children’s education.”

Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School acting head Matthew O’Brien said they were currently in contact with the School Bus Service and were working with parents to find a preferred outcome for the Dunsborough to Bunbury service.

“The school will be hosting a parent consultation night for all families affected by the decision on Thursday, October 12 in Dunsborough,” he said.