You are invited to attend the Bus Route Review meeting on Monday 16 November at 7pm in the Pukekohe East School hall. At the meeting the Bus Society Executive will explain the proposed 2016 school bus route and answer any questions.
Below is the proposed bus route for 2016. It mirrors our current bus route with some slight timing adjustments.
MAP OF PROPOSED 2016 SCHOOL BUS ROUTE
TIMETABLE OF PROPOSED 2016 SCHOOL BUS ROUTE
The Valley Road and Jericho Road extension segments (marked with an asterisk) will be reviewed during the year if usage drops below the required level, and in the case of Valley Road if a safe crossing alternative results from the Ryman Healthcare development.
How was the proposed route determined?
Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit their feedback on the school bus route. Around 75% of the families who submitted feedback asked for the status quo to remain. Other families requested a variety of changes, ranging from moving a bus stop 20m, to adding and deleting sections of the bus route.
Child safety was the foremost consideration. We operate a large bus and it needs sufficient room on the road shoulder to allow it to stop clear of traffic, and at least 20 metres distance to pull in and out. The stopped bus must be clearly visible to traffic in both directions. Uphill stops are undesirable as they cause clutch-wear, and they make acceleration difficult when rejoining traffic safely, especially on busy 100km main roads. Drivers’ opinions on safety considerations were given particular emphasis.
The bus must be able to complete its route within 40 minutes. The lesson we’ve learned is that if the route is too long then families stop using the bus. A shorter route is more desirable.
Operating the bus is a numbers game. Our unique historic bus service needs subscription fees, parent volunteers and fundraising to survive. In evaluating sections of the route we look at the number of children that will use a bus stop, and the distance, cost and time to travel to each bus stop.
The bus is not owned by the school, nor is it contracted by or to the Ministry of Education. It receives no funding from the government and there is no connection to the school enrolment zone. It costs a lot to run a bus service, and our independent bus survives by running as a lean business to provide for the kids of Pukekohe East School in the most efficient way that we can, supported by annual subscriptions and fundraising. The school catchment area is changing each year, with more and more children coming from the town fringes as Pukekohe expands. The bus service must follow this trend to support the school and maintain passenger numbers.
The bus route runs in an anti-clockwise direction so that it can have as many left turns as possible. Left turns are in general safer and easier and allow the bus to keep to timetable. This means that the bus turns left out of the school carpark and initially heads north up Runciman Road.
Our large bus cannot easily turn right out of the school carpark, and indeed it’s impossible to make that right turn when there are vehicles parked on the opposite side of the road.
Consistent Run Morning and Afternoon:
The bus route needs to be the same in the morning and afternoon. We have learned from experience that operating different morning and afternoon routes causes confusion to parents, grandparents and relief drivers.
What happens next?
Following the Bus Route Review meeting, the final map and timetable will be published on the school bus website to take effect the first day back at school in 2016. The bus route will remain in place for the 2016 school year, and it will be reviewed again in Term 4, planning for 2017.
Please get involved
The bus is kept going by parent volunteers who don’t get paid. If the bus is important to you please get involved. Bus society meetings are held once a term and all school families are welcome to come along and learn how the bus society operates and lend a hand with fundraising initiatives.