School camp trip saved after last-minute cancellation

Dunedin North Intermediate principal Heidi Hayward. Photo: Gregor Richardson.
Dunedin North Intermediate principal Heidi Hayward. Photo: Gregor Richardson/ODT files
Dunedin pupils set to be left stranded by a late transportation cancellation will be able to get to their school camp after all.

East Coast Passenger Services stepped into the breach this afternoon, which would enable about 100 pupils to get to their camp at Waihola on Monday and back again the next day, Dunedin North Intermediate School principal Heidi Hayward said.

Ms Hayward had been left stunned when Go Bus Transport advised her by email this morning a booking made in December would have to be cancelled.

The company cited lack of driver availability, due to illness, as the reason for the cancellation.

The school was then forced to scramble at the eleventh hour to try to make alternative arrangements and it issued urgent pleas for help.

A Facebook post was put up and contact details for Ms Hayward were included in that post.

"East Coast Passenger Services phoned to say they could do it," Ms Hayward said.

She was concerned about the process undertaken by Go Bus, particularly that the company seemed to be comfortable with leaving the problem largely in the hands of the school.

Ms Hayward informed Go Bus her morning had been extremely stressful and she had to abandon all her family commitments.

"I've been teaching for 25 years and I've never ever had something like this happen before," Ms Hayward said.

The school planned to run a one-night camp and four of its classes were due to head for Waihola at 8.30am on Monday with Go Bus and return the next day.

Ms Hayward said in such circumstances she would have expected Go Bus to be proactive about finding a solution.

She received two emails from the company - one advising of the cancellation and another suggesting a couple of options to try.

She might not normally have looked at her emails until Sunday night and felt it was unacceptable not to at least get a phone call.

The booking had been made in December last year.

"We are extremely sorry for this inconvenience but it is out of our control," a Go Bus staff member said by email.