KIDS EXCLUDED: Parents fear for students' safety
A FRASER Coast mum fears for her daughter's safety as bus services to and from her high school become increasingly unreliable.
River Heads resident Anne Prentice's 13-year-old daughter Holly attends Hervey Bay High School.
There is no school bus directly connecting their town and the school, meaning students are forced to change at Urangan State High School and catch a connecting bus.
Mrs Prentice says the services regularly do not meet up, leaving her daughter stranded.
She says the lack of service is equivalent to "discrimination" against River Heads residents who choose to send their children to Hervey Bay State High School.
Mrs Prentice, a shift worker, recently moved to the area and was told by the high school there was a bus that serviced the area.
But Mrs Prentice's 13-year-old daughter must catch the school bus to Urangan State High School and then a Wide Bay Transit bus to HBHS.
Mrs Prentice said because the school bus had become a popular mode of transport, her daughter regularly missed the connecting bus to school.
"Due to more people catching the school bus our kids now miss the Wide Bay bus by minutes," Mrs Prentice said.
"It's not safe at all for our children."
Mrs Prentice is frustrated students who live at Howard and Toogoom have a bus service outside of the school catchment zone, but there is no service for River Heads.
"My kids have to walk around town until 6pm until their father finishes work," she said.
"Me and a few other parents are being what we feel is discriminated against from the bus services in our community.
"Parents in River Heads are being forced to turn down work due to not being able to get our kids to and from school, or we are having to make a choice of changing schools."
Mrs Prentice said she would be more than willing to pay for a service to see her children arrive home safely from school.
A TransLink spokeswoman said residents living in River Heads were in the catchment zone for Urangan State High School.
"The Department of Transport and Main Roads provides school transport bus services from River Heads to Urangan State High School," she said.
"These services can be accessed free of charge for students who are eligible for the School Transport Assistance Scheme.
"Parents always have the right to choose the school that most suits the needs of their children, however, if any transport costs linked to such a decision fall outside the purpose of the STAS scheme, it remains the responsibility of parents or guardians."
She said there were no plans to introduce a school bus service running directly between River Heads and Hervey Bay High School.