THE wheels on the bus are meant to go round and round, but that’s not the case for students in Loch wanting to go to Leongatha Secondary College.
A parent of a Grade 6 student told the ‘Sentinel-Times’ Leongatha Secondary College cannot, at this stage, guarantee her daughter a seat on the school bus next year.
“You would think the easiest solution is just to put another bus on, but for some reason that’s not possible,” the parent said.
“The other thing is, you don’t find out if you have a seat until December.”
But that’s leaving it too late, the parent said, who’d rather not see her daughter have to catch a V/Line bus, which won’t leave Leongatha until 4.39pm.
For students to travel to Loch, they need to catch a 3.38pm bus from Leongatha Secondary College to Leongatha Railway Station.
The bus trip only takes around two minutes but is a 1.2km hike if students miss it.
Once at the station, students have to wait around an hour for the next bus.
At 4.39pm, they can catch a bus to Loch, which takes 26 minutes.
If they miss that one, the next one’s at 6.55pm.
“There are a lot of people I know that are sending their kids elsewhere just because they can’t get on a bus to other schools.”
“A friend of mine sends her daughter to Leongatha.
“Her daughter has to wait at school at the end of the day because the bus she’s on goes around and does a run; then comes back to the school and picks her up.
“There’s obviously a huge shortage of buses and it’s not just these lines,” adding that it means parents are more limited to where they can send their children.
But it’s not Leongatha Secondary College calling the shots here. Government schools have to follow the Department of Education policy for the School Bus Program.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said the program’s policy allows for students to be transported to their nearest government school.
“However, Leongatha Secondary College is not the nearest government secondary school to Loch,” the spokeswoman said.
“While we will try and accommodate new students where possible, there are no plans to expand the service between Loch and Leongatha Secondary.
“If there is room on the existing school bus between Loch and Leongatha Secondary College, new students coming from Loch can apply and, where possible, they will be accommodated for a small fee.”
Seats are first allocated to students who are travelling to their nearest government school, followed by those travelling to their nearest eligible non-government school and then anyone else, if there’s space on the bus.