BUS routes discussed by principals at a Community of Learning meeting this week, included how to make the process easier and safer for students. Photos James Sandbrook OB4693-01, 02 inset

A CONCERNED Opotiki parent has called for improvements to primary school bus services that are causing confusion and stress for young travellers.

The call is supported by Opotiki College principal Susan Impey and other Opotiki Community of Learning principals who have already discussed potential changes.

The mother, who did not wish to be named, said her five-year-old son was confused by the current system.

“It’s not a problem in the mornings, they pick him up from the house, but in the afternoon, he gets confused which bus he is supposed to get on at the college,” she said.

Buses leave the various primary schools around Opotiki and converge at Opotiki College, where students disembark and must board a second bus to go home.

“We can’t rely on him recognising the bus driver, because the bus driver might be sick one day,” she said.

The mother said the same applied to bus numbers, in case one day the bus broke down and her son couldn’t recognise the replacement bus for the day.

“It’s not the bus drivers’ fault, they’re doing an amazing job,” she said.

The mother said this was unneeded stress for a five-year-old just starting school, and there were no college staff on-site to help direct primary school students.

Mrs Impey said the concerns were valid, and work was under way to streamline the bus routes and changeovers.

“As principals, we want to ensure the safety of all students,” she said.

She said bus routes had been discussed by principals at a Community of Learning meeting this week, including how to make the process easier and safer for students, and putting in place bus monitors for primary school children.

Mrs Impey said she would be speaking with the bus services to determine whose responsibility it was to provide the
bus monitors.

She said the viability of Opotiki’s bus routes was examined with the goal of minimising changeovers and confusion for students.

As upgrades were coming to the college in the near future, she would also be trying to ensure the addition of a bus bay with shelter.

She said on rare occasions, students did miss buses and when this happened the college would take care of them until transport could be organised.

“Sometimes kids do miss their bus, and usually they just come into the front office and we call their school.

“We would never leave a little child lost.”