Victory for campaign to ban students standing on school buses

by Jessica Maddock - Sep 03, 2018

Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) Mayor Jim Boult has revealed that the Ministry of Education is bringing an end to the practice of children standing on school buses.

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Mayor Jim Boult - delighted with the decision

The issue of children’s safety when standing on school buses was raised by Wanaka Primary School Board Chairman, Andrew Howard earlier this year. At the time Mr Howard called for action from Central Government to adopt a one-seat-per-child funding formula or change legislation to stand on travelling buses.

Mayor Boult took the matter up with both the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and this week, received advice from the Agency that the Ministry of Education had agreed to terminate the practice of allowing standing passengers on school buses.

Mayor Boult’s first message was one of congratulations and thanks to all of those involved.

“This is a bold decision on behalf of the Ministry as there will be costs involved in bringing additional capacity into the school bus fleet. But I applaud them for responding to the concerns raised. It’s a change that needs to be made to reduce the risks to our district’s children travelling to and from school,” said Mayor Boult.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) was also instrumental in delivering this much-needed change and Mayor Boult wished to publicly thank the Agency for their influence in this important issue.

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Andrew Howard - decision "massively satisfying"

Mr Howard said this was is an amazing result.

“People have been asking for this change for decades and to have finally achieved it is massively satisfying. Thank you to Mayor Jim Boult, the Wanaka Primary School community and the Ministry of Education School Transport team for making this happen,” said Mr Howard.

Mayor Boult praised Mr Howard for driving the campaign for change and congratulated him on a successful outcome.

“It’s easy to close our eyes to situations sometimes and it takes someone like Mr Howard to stand up and say ‘this situation is ludicrous’. I for one am delighted that he did challenge the status quo and has made the daily school run safer for all our children,” said Mayor Boult.

Crux launched a petition only two days ago calling for improved safety on school buses. The petition had attracted almost 800 signatures at the time the Ministry of Education decision was announced this afternoon by the Mayor.

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