Fighting for Equity in Education

The struggle is long but hope is longer

Student Transport an Issue for Tharwa Residents

Thursday September 7, 2006

Although busy roads are not an issue for us in Tharwa, there are some traffic issues that our children face in driving longer distances to school.

For Tharwa children to attend their next closest school (over 10kms away) they must travel over Tharwa Bridge. Over the last couple of years this bridge has been closed for extended periods for maintenance. When the bridge is closed, Tharwa children have to travel the long way around to town, via Point Hutt Road (about 30kms) or when the Point Hutt crossing is also closed (and this DOES happen) then all the way to Cotter Rd – approx 80kms.

If you check fatalities for Point Hutt Road, you will find there was a 200% increase in fatalities when the Tharwa Bridge was last closed. Point Hutt Road is traversed by larger vehicles that do not fit over the bridge, has many dangerous curves and is not constructed to take the level of traffic that would be on the road if Tharwa children are travelling to Canberra for school.

Also, there are no funds allocated to the maintenance of these roads or the bridge in the budget so we do not anticipate safer driving conditions or a reliable river crossing in the near future.

The bridge condition is also a problem with respect to public transport. ACTION buses do not fit across this bridge. Therefore, they would have to travel the long way around, or use mini-buses. Currently we have one 24-seater mini-bus service contracted to Kiers Buses to transport high school children to and from Canberra. However this bus is at full capacity.

With 20-odd primary children (and their parents/siblings) requiring public transport should Tharwa school close, there would need to be an additional 2 mini-buses running each morning and afternoon. There would also need to be public transport to return escorting parents to their homes in the mornings and pick them up in the afternoon for school pickup.

My own talks with ACTION suggest there are no funds for this public transport service. ACTION representatives have literally laughed at me when I have asked when the public service routes and times will be announced – I am told that this will NOT happen at all as far as ACTION are concerned.

Emily Haesler
Tharwa PS P&C President

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