Bus safety improved for Port Stephens students

A total of 92 school buses across Cessnock, Singleton, Maitland and Port Stephens have been retrofitted with seatbelts.

SCHOOL journeys will now be safer for Port Stephens students, with the completion of a $10 million program to provide 92 additional seat belted school buses across the Hunter.

Following an extension of the Rural and Regional Seatbelt Program to include school buses in selected outer metropolitan areas, 92 school buses across Cessnock, Singleton, Maitland and Port Stephens have been retrofitted with seatbelts, while ten are brand new seatbelted vehicles.

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Transport for NSW carried out an analysis to determine which Hunter school buses received seatbelts, determining they be installed on vehicles which regularly travel on roads with a higher crash risk rating with speed limits of 80 km/h or more.

Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington said, “The safety of kids on our local school buses has been a longstanding concern for families in Port Stephens.

“In the absence of a local public high school in Medowie, we have thousands of students travelling long distances on school buses every single day.

“Many years ago, our community campaigned for seatbelts on school buses.

“Finally, after more than a decade, our school buses now have seatbelts and our kids will be safer.”

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said wearing a seatbelt doubles the chance of surviving a crash and reduces the risk of injury.

“I know having seatbelts on more buses in the Hunter will give a level of assurance to families that their children are going to and from school better protected.”

The selected buses operate on dedicated school routes serviced by Transport’s contracted operators Rover Motors, CDC NSW and Port Stephens Coaches.

The program was the result of a partnership between Transport for NSW, the bus operators and seat belt retrofitters.

On the buses that were retrofitted, a total of 6,671 seatbelts were installed on 4,624 seats, including one, two and three-person seats.

Disruption to normal school services was minimised during the fifteen-month retrofit program with replacement buses being used throughout.

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