Students left stranded

Avan Waites at Melton Railway Station. Pic: Dennis Manktelow

A Bacchus Marsh grandmother is leading a campaign for an additional school bus after a group of students was left behind because their regular bus was full.

Overcrowding on the school bus service between Bacchus Marsh and Melton has long been an issue in the area. It came to a head in recent weeks when eight Bacchus Marsh College students were left behind at the school after missing their Melton-bound trip.

Avan Waites, whose two grandsons were among the students, said it was not the first time the students had missed out on the service because it was at capacity.

“They are a 12-year-old and 15-year-old left to their own devices on that day because there is no back up bus available when the buses are full,” Ms Waites said.

“I also drove two other kids home who would have suffered the same fate.

“Most families these days have both parents working … if they cannot rely on the school bus service to deliver their kids to and from school, the whole family will suffer.

“A school bus service should be 100 per cent reliable.”

The 3.30pm Melton-bound school bus service, which is funded by Public Transport Victoria and operated by Bacchus Marsh Coaches, picks up students from Bacchus Marsh Grammar before stopping at Bacchus Marsh College and heading on to Melton.

Bacchus Marsh Coaches general manager John Storms said that the company was aware of the overcrowding issues on the school route.

He said the company was also lobbying PTV in the hope of getting funding for an additional bus.

“We have had complaints by some very unhappy parents and unfortunately our hands are tied on this particular issue,” Mr Storms told Star Weekly.

“If we were to send out a bus to pick up students who miss out, it would interfere with a wider network of timetables and we are simply unable to carry the cost.”

He encouraged residents to continue campaigning in the hope that PTV would fund another bus.

Ms Waites and at least two parents have lodged complaints with PTV and the transport ombudsman.

A spokesman for Public Transport Victoria said they are aware of the problem.