The Ministry of Education has put the brakes on its proposed
changes to Wakatipu school bus routes and services will be
unchanged at the start of the next school year.
Early last month the ministry announced services would be cut
from the start of 2015, leaving children to rely on public
transport to get to and from school.
Following a public outcry a fortnight later, ministry
education infrastructure service group manager Jerome
Sheppard said the routes would remain ''fundamentally
However, in a letter to St Joseph's School on September 1,
education infrastructure service school transport director
Keith Bolton said the ministry had ''slowed down our
proposals for change, as we want to get this right''.
''There will be no changes to services at the start of the
2015 school year as had been originally proposed.
''Instead, more time will be taken to get further input on
the proposals from parents, yourselves [the school] and local
''Any changes will ultimately come with at least a term's
notice to parents,'' the letter said.
In an opinion piece in this week's Mountain Scene head of
education infrastructure service Kim Shannon said about 750
pupils a day were carried on 16 routes in Wakatipu. Ten of
those routes, carrying 490 pupils a day, were also serviced
by public buses.
''These 10 school bus routes ... are the ones we want to
discuss with the community.
''We have listened to the feedback so far and, as a result,
have slowed down the process.''
The ministry expected to come up with a range of options
early next year for ''further discussion''.
''We absolutely understand that ending school buses on these
routes would mean a significant new cost for those families
switching to public transport.
''Any changes we do make will take into account the impact on
parents. However, we also want to be fair to all other
families around New Zealand and apply our rules equally.
''No matter how school transport is provided in the future,
it will be safe and reliable for your kids,'' Ms Shannon