A recipe for disaster

CHILDREN, buses, traffic and the Pacific Highway ? a recipe for disaster.

Bonville residents are now even more concerned for the safety of their children travelling to school on buses after four people died on the Pacific Highway on Monday when their car collided with a coach.

Warrick Steele has three children who commute from Bonville to school each day and his greatest concerns are for children who stand in the bus aisle every morning.

"Students who come from the southern side of Bonville are unable to get a seat and it worries you as a parent when you see them standing up," Mr Steele said.

"They (the students) are only on the highway for a short time, but if they are standing up and there is an accident like the one on Monday they will all go straight through the front window.

"There should not be any students standing in the aisle of a bus on any highway."

Mr Steele said many parents in Bonville drive their children to and from school each day because they worry about bus and highway conditions, while others who don't have that option stand by the highway with their children and wait.

Parents are also anxious that buses travelling the highway aren't fitted with seatbelts.

A mother of one of the students involved in the accident on Monday, Kaylene Blatchly, said their bus had seatbelts and the children should have been firmly instructed to wear them.

"They were very, very lucky but it is an important lesson for others to learn. When you are taking kids on school bus excursions, check they are wearing their seat belts," Ms Blatchly said.

"A major tragedy could have happened and we could have lost the lives of our precious children."

According to Government standards buses are licensed to carry passengers in the aisle, even children.

When contacted by the Coffs Coast Advocate yesterday the manager of Busways Coffs Harbour, Sunny Brailey, refused to comment about student numbers and bus routes on the Pacific Highway at Bonville.

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