Win after two-year school bus battle
A TWO-YEAR campaign to get a bus service for secondary school students in the Mount Clay area finally came to an end this week.
Ten Portland Secondary College students, who live in the Blackers, Schwarz and Liebelts roads area, are now able to be dropped off much closer to home.
The Narrawong District Primary School bus service has been extended to pick up the students from that school, where they are dropped off about 4pm, and take them up a steep, isolated, gravel road.
Previously they had been dropped off at the now-closed Narrawong Store from where they either had to walk home or wait until their parents picked them up after work.
It brings to an end a long campaign, which suffered a setback earlier this year when the Education and Training Department denied an extension to the existing service, citing safety concerns in relation to the larger secondary school bus.
However, after more pressure Education Minister James Merlino intervened, and asked for the primary school’s smaller bus to be used.
The extended service was due to start last term but after the department and the schools concerned worked out a new timetable, an afternoon service finally began on Monday, in time for the new school term.
Parent Jo Aitken, who led the campaign for the extension, said issues around the time students would get to Portland meant a morning service was not practical at present.
“But it’s no problem,” she said.
“Everyone is quite happy with the fact that we’ve got an afternoon service at least.
“The biggest issue was that parents are working and not finishing until 5-6pm and their kids were stuck down on the highway where it was unsafe.
“It’s taken us two years to keep hounding them for a service the kids are entitled to.
“It’s a positive outcome and I’m just grateful for all the assistance we received.”