Transport 'upheaval' condemned

SIENA YATES
Last updated 08:48 12/12/2012
Don Bright
CHRIS HILLOCK/Fairfax NZ

CONCERNED: Don Bright's grandchildren attend Hamilton North School and he is outraged their transport provider has been replaced.

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The grandfather of two special-needs girls is outraged they will have to deal with a complete upheaval after their trusted transport provider was replaced "for the sake of a few dollars".

Don Bright's grandchildren attend Hamilton North School, where he is chairman of the board of trustees and where Trikiso Buses has provided transport for the past 10 years.

However, the locally owned company "missed out" on next year's tender and is to be replaced by Go Bus Transport, a change Mr Bright said would cause massive disruption for the children, many of whom are dependent on routine and familiarity.

"They're obviously just thinking about money rather than the actual service," Mr Bright said.

"It's the welfare of the children that I'm looking at, and you can imagine the disruption that is going to happen all for a few dollars."

Hamilton North School principal Tony Kane said any change was going to cause disruption to the children but he hoped the new providers would be able to make the transition as smooth as possible.

"It's disappointing that the company we deal with missed out but . . . we're just hoping [Go Bus] are up to the standard, otherwise we've got real problems," Mr Kane said.

"Our students don't like change and they've got good relationships with the drivers at the moment, so, no matter what, there are going to be teething problems but I hope it can work out."

The Ministry of Education's resourcing group manager, John Clark said Go Bus would work with schools and caregivers to ensure minimal disruption. Some schools had new operators after a national tender for the provision of Special Education School Transport Assistance (Sesta), and Go Bus had been appointed to 36 schools throughout Hamilton.

"[Go Bus] is already an experienced Sesta provider, operating a number of clusters under the current contract . . . has provided proof of the necessary driver training and has a proven ability in the Sesta industry," he said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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