Cairns councillor Linda Cooper says school students are put at risk.
Cairns councillor Linda Cooper says school students are put at risk.

Parents concerned over ‘crowded’ school buses

PARENTS are holding the State Government to account over alleged dangerous numbers of students on state-contracted city bus routes.

Last week students standing in the aisles were catapulted forward when the driver of the Stratford, Redlynch, Freshwater route reacted in an emergency-braking situation.

Dave Thatcher, the parent of a 13-year-old Redlynch State College student, said his daughter was saved from serious injury by the bus driver.

"One child basically face-planted on the floor…and the bus driver basically stopped (my daughter) from going through the front window," he said.

Division 6 councillor Linda Cooper, aware of the incident, said the problem of school bus crowding was an issue felt across the city.

She said she was amazed that a State Government that placed such a strong emphasis on workplace and road safety put at risk the lives of thousands of students every day.

"We have so many different high-level safety (regulations) we have to abide by through legislation and yet we have on a daily basis thousands of kids who are getting on buses without seatbelts and are actually standing," she said.

"I think the whole system needs to be looked at and I am a little bit bemused that this has not become a major issue earlier.

"If you have some idiot on the road that is not looking at what they're doing and slams into the bus and you have 20 kids that are standing up and are slammed against railings."

Mr Thatcher is concerned it will take a tragedy for the government to address a school bus shortfall.

"It's very important we highlight and we highlight it without someone dying. I think we need to make the State Government accountable for the appropriate level of safety provided for our kids," he said.

Cr Cooper said collaboration was needed between the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Education Queensland and parents to deliver a better outcome for students.

Cairns MP Michael Healy said he was not aware of the incident and the issue was not raised by his constituents, however he understood the concern of parents.

"As a parent of a 14-year-old daughter that gets a bus to school I would expect them to be safe and that's the expectation of government and parents," he said.