School buses fitted with seat belts will start appearing on Busways’ mid-north coast services this month.
The long-awaited investment by Transport for NSW will see the gradual installation of seatbelts on all buses dedicated to school runs in rural and regional areas by the end of 2019 and all remaining rural and regional buses by the end of 2021.
All school routes in the Nambucca Shire will be serviced by seatbelt fitted buses once the progressive rollout is complete.
Eight years ago Valla’s Jan Gill started campaigning to bring this to reality … her son, Stephen, is now 16 years old but still won’t see belts on his bus to Coffs Harbour belted during his school life.
“Of course it’s great to see this happening but I’d like to see it happen earlier,” Jan said.
“It is only the dedicated school bus routes, which are the minority of Busways' routes in this region. Stephen catches the bus to Coffs Harbour but it is not a dedicated school bus, so the refit is not until 2021.
“At least they have fixed the highway – it is not as dangerous as it was.”
The seatbelt program has seen 768 buses equipped with seatbelts across NSW since the start of the Seatbelt Rollout Program in 2013.
By law, all bus drivers and passengers must use the seat belts in any vehicle that is fitted with them.
Drivers will undertake training covering seatbelt regulations and their responsibilities and will verbally remind students to fasten their seat belts. Buses will start rolling out from February 2019 with more seat belt-fitted buses to join the fleet in the coming months.
Busways’ mid-north coast regions include Heatherbrae, Bulahdelah, Laurieton, Wauchope, Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Macksville, Bellingen, Urunga, Raleigh, Coffs Harbour, Grafton and Yamba.
Busways has always been an advocate for measures that improve safety on and around buses and is continually monitoring and improving vehicle safety features where possible.
Recent safety innovation introduced by Busways includes the addition of a modernised evacuation side door on these Volvo model seat belt-fitted buses.
The bus model is also fitted with an engine retarder that works to slow the vehicle down as the accelerator pedal is released. The control mechanism is an innovative addition to the newer buses.