You can’t cut bus services to a school that has none – Waiting for a bus that never comes, students walk the hard road

Tarneit Senior College students often walk through this paddock next to their school. The college recently warned students about snakes in the paddock. Photo: Justin McManus

WORD of the Baillieu government’s cuts to school bus subsidies didn’t cause a stir at Tarneit Senior College, even though it is in one of the suburbs that is set to lose out.

After all, you can’t cut bus services to a school that has none.

Tarneit, in Melbourne’s west, is in one of 10 postcodes within the city’s expanded urban-growth boundary that will no longer qualify for school transport subsidies, under state government cuts to be phased in over the next six years. The government expects to save $21.6 million.

Schools in Tarneit are among more than 110 in outer Melbourne that will lose their conveyance allowance because they have been judged to have good enough public transport to do without it.

Michael Fawcett, Tarneit Senior College’s principal, disagrees.

”There are no bus routes out here in this part of Tarneit,” Mr Fawcett said. ”We’ve complained to the Transport Minister a number of times about the fact that there’s no public transport for our students…”

Public Transport Victoria maintains that the nearest public bus is a good option for students, even though its closest stop is about a kilometre away…

Public Transport Victoria’s spokeswoman said the authority would ”review the operation of buses in the Wyndham area as part of the network planning for the new Williams Landing station and the new stations on the Regional Rail Link route”.

The Regional Rail Link is in the early stages of construction, but is not due to open until 2016. ”There is frustration from the school community, definitely, and we’ve missed out on enrolments because we haven’t had a bus driving past,” Mr Fawcett said.

Adam Carey, The Age, November 1, 2012

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