Parents’ outrage after young boys ‘turfed off’ bus
FUMING parents claim their young boys were reduced to tears after being "turfed off" a bus and told to catch another.
Angie Hammond's boys, Jake and Zak, 11 and 10, were on the bus home from St Johns in Nambour to Kureelpa on Monday afternoon.
The boys had hopped on the service, which they had used the week earlier, when they were told to get off.
Mrs Hammond said the boys were left at the stop and told to catch another service which would get them home about an hour later.
But Wests National Coaches manager Paul West argued the children were advised to get off the bus as it was overcrowded.
He said it was illegal for children to not be seated while travelling up the Blackall Range and that other children would have been forced to stand.
Given the age of her boys, Mrs Hammond said they were confused and upset and that the situation was poorly handled.
"Jake phoned me in tears, voice breaking, asking me to 'come get them'," Mrs Hammond said.
"They didn't know where they were going, so I had to grab them."
Mr West said the parents were informed of the overcrowding issue last week.
"This year we have had an overload of children needing the service but we can't overload the bus and put other kids in danger," Mr West said.
"Unless it's an emergency we can't have kids standing and we told the parents that last week but they're refusing to listen.
"If there are seats available on the first bus then they can get on providing it is safe."
Mrs Hammond said she was not informed of the changes and caught off guard.
She said it was very lucky her eldest son had a mobile phone to call her.
"It was only their sixth day of catching a bus and they were used to the system last week, now they have to change? It's ridiculous," she said.
Fellow parent Tanya Bayliss also had a son involved yesterday.
"For my son Asha, it was the first time he had caught a bus, it was terrible," Ms Bayliss said.
"He was worried, his friends got kicked off. Luckily a friend had a phone."
She said about 10 to 15 children from five families used the service on her stretch of road, and suggested Mapleton State School was a better pick-up point.
Currently in the second service, school kids are dropped off at Sherwell Rd, which Ms Bayliss labelled as "dangerous" and a "disgrace".
"The bus goes from St Johns, up the Blackall Range but stops at Sherwell Rd, which has no off-street parking, no footpath, on a dangerous intersection," Ms Bayliss said.
"For some … reason they're trying to punish the children who live along Dulong-Kureelpa Rd, and refuse to stop there."
Mr West said Sherwell Rd had been used as a bus stop "for years" without an issue and said the parents were simply "trying to buck the system" to get their kids home faster.