Extra passenger capacity is being added to Wanaka's
school transport service after ''cramped'' buses caused by
growing school rolls prompted an approach to the Ministry of
Wanaka Primary School parent Jarrod Frazer raised safety
concerns last week with Wanaka school principals and
Alexandra-based Central Motorways - contracted by the
ministry to provide school bus services in the Upper Clutha -
about loading limits on school buses.
Mr Frazer's 10-year-old daughter was uncomfortable with
pupils having to stand on her ''very cramped'' daily bus
The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) determines the legal
loading limit for every bus, including both seated and
standing passengers and the limits for a particular vehicle
can be found on its certificate of loading.
''The Albert Town bus in particular is a 48-seater bus and
the NZTA allows them to seat 72 kids and have a further 16
children standing,'' Mr Frazer said on Friday.
''Not the safest in my mind, especially if the bus has to
On Monday, Central Motorways general manager Michael Harrison
alerted the ministry - on behalf of local schools - to the
mounting pressure on bus capacity, particularly in Albert
Town and Hawea.
Although the buses were already ''heavily loaded'', all
vehicles and drivers were operating safely within NZTA
limits, he told the Otago Daily Times at the time.
The ministry subsequently agreed Central Motorways could
extend its existing service by operating a ''run-back''
between Wanaka and Albert Town, where the bus will return
along the remainder of the route picking up those passengers
not collected the first time.
''This sort of transport arrangement is relatively common,
especially in rural areas,'' ministry infrastructure services
head Kim Shannon said.
The bus schedule changes would take effect next Tuesday and a
back-up vehicle would be available if pupil numbers warranted
Mr Frazer said it was ''excellent'' to get such a quick,
positive response from the ministry.
Wanaka Primary School principal Wendy Bamford said the extra
seating capacity would cater for significant growth in the
school's roll, which was now the highest it had been at 530
pupils. The roll was expected to reach 620 by the end of the
She had always had ''great faith'' in Central Motorways as an
''They are so reliable and you know that they're going to
play by the rules.''
Central Motorways has 12 school buses servicing Wanaka at
present. Two additional bus runs and progressively larger
vehicles have been added to cope with population growth
during the past five years.