Reinstate Bus Passes for All Magdalene Students
The Minister for Transport The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian Parliament of New South Wales Minister, We the undersigned, hereby petition you to intervene in the matter of the withdrawal of bus passes from a number of students of Magdalene Catholic High School (MCHS), Smeaton Grange, NSW. The facts of the matter are: 1. The issuance of bus passes is managed under the provisions of the School Student Transport Scheme (STSS). 2. The eligibility guidelines as interpreted by the Department of Transport fail to take into account that MCHS is located in an industrial area and, since 2003, has been exempted from the distance eligibility guidelines due to its location. 3. The DOT reviewed the eligibility of MCHS students and in December 2013, withdrew bus passes from a number of MCHS students (approx 170) without consultation with the MCHS Executive. 4. In reassessing eligibility, the DOT has not followed its own guidelines regarding the application of local knowledge and on site surveys, but has generally used geospatial referencing that fails to adequately portray the true nature of the safety of the suggested walking routes that students will be forced to take. 5. One of the specific guidelines is that a WALKWAY must be in close proximity to residences. The location of MCHS is such that for a significant portion of every students journey they would NOT be in close proximity to residences. 6. The Smeaton Grange precinct is officially recognised by the Roads and Maritime Services as a prescribed heavy vehicle route permitting all heavy vehicles up to and including B-Doubles. Forcing a child of any age to walk in such an area is, by any reasonable assessment, unsafe. 7. Repeated requests to the DOT to have officers visit the locality and see first hand the nature of the pedestrian access have been refused. This would seem to be in contravention of the guidelines referred to in Point 4 above. Minister, we humbly petition you to restore the previous exemption to the SSTS enjoyed by MCHS and ensure that our children are never forced to use unsafe pedestrian access.