Operational Considerations for Schools Operating outside of Gazetted School Days for “Orange” School Buses
The Public Transport Authority (PTA) will provide a daily ‘orange’ school bus to transport eligible students to and from school during the school year. These services will run based on the gazetted school term dates released by the Department of Education.Non-Government schools traditionally have followed the gazetted school term dates but will from time-to-time vary start and finishing dates to suit the school’s timetabled calendar to cover for example, teacher personal development periods. Over the years schools have invariably adopted slightly different school starting and closing dates. Not only is this becoming more prolific, but has further exacerbated the issue when schools in the same geographic area have different starting and closing dates for each school term.The PTA has received a number of requests from non-government schools (in some instances with two days notice) to run buses outside of the gazetted school term. This poses considerable problems as the PTA has to engage a network of buses to carry a small number of students to and from school. Not only is this inefficient, it is putting cost pressures onto PTA to have to provide this service. Currently the PTA is funded to provide a reasonable level of transport assistance and as such must ensure it provides a service which benefits the greater community. It is incumbent on the Government to provide a balanced service response to all community needs within its funding capability.Therefore the PTA will not provide buses on school days that fall outside the gazetted school days for public schools unless the following conditions are met:
PTA has determined that if an orange school bus caters predominately or significantly for the school that is operating outside of the alignment with the Government school dates, and it can be proven that at least 50% of the bus’ patronage is derived from non-government schools that are operating, then the PTA will direct that the service operates on the day. To be clear, 50% of the load on a large bus (coach size) would be a minimum of 25 students, and 50% of one of the small buses (eg Toyota Coaster or Commuter size) would be 12 and 7 students respectively.Schools affected by this policy should contact PTA’s School Bus Services Branch and must provide at least one months notice so services can be determined with the school and school bus operators, and parents informed of services that will be running.Where services do not meet thresholds the services will not operate and families will have to make alternative transport arrangements.
Multiple School Bus Services for A Particular School
For large non-government schools with multiple school bus services coming to the school the PTA may combine school bus services so that the 50% threshold is attained.Again for this to occur schools must provide at least one months notice so that the appropriate modified bus routes can be developed with the school and school bus operators, and parents informed of services that will be running.
Affect on Regional Town Services
Due to the possibility of modified ‘orange’ school bus services running or not running at all outside of gazetted school days, schools are encouraged to contact PTA’s Regional Town Services Branch to ensure children residing in town or travelling to town will have a school bus service running on the day.
Please click on the link below for information relating to private schools operating on Non-Government school days.
Private Schools Operating on non Government School Days