All re­gional school buses will have seat­belts four years ahead of sched­ule thanks to a $29 mil­lion seat­belt blitz in the NSW bud­get

ABC (Australia) - - CON­TENTS -

All re­gional school buses will have seat­belts four years ahead of sched­ule, thanks to a $29 mil­lion school bus seat­belt blitz in the New South Wales bud­get.

Min­is­ter for Trans­port and In­fra­struc­ture An­drew Con­stance says in­stal­la­tion of seat­belts on the ru­ral and re­gional bus fleet will be fast-tracked to en­sure the safety of re­gional pub­lic trans­port.

Fund­ing in the 2017-18 NSW Bud­get means all buses travelling on ded­i­cated re­gional school routes will have seat­belts by December 2019, ahead of the cur­rent sched­ule of 2023.

All 2800 ru­ral and re­gional buses will have seat­belts by December 2021, with the re­place­ment of 415 buses and retrofitting 1937 ex­ist­ing buses, on top of the 515 buses that have al­ready been re­placed.

“We are fast-track­ing seat­belts on re­gional school buses, mak­ing sure stu­dents on all ded­i­cated re­gional school routes can travel on buses with seat­belts by December 2019 – four years ahead of sched­ule,” he says.

“This is some­thing our com­mu­ni­ties have been cry­ing out for and I’m com­mit­ted to mak­ing sure kids across the state can travel to school safely.”

BusNSW act­ing ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Matt Threlkeld says the an­nounce­ment is an im­por­tant safety ini­tia­tive for stu­dents travelling to and from school by bus in re­gional ar­eas of NSW.

BusNSW was part of the School Bus Safety Com­mu­nity Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee that made rec­om­men­da­tions to the NSW Govern­ment in 2012, and sup­ported the move for all ded­i­cated re­gional school routes to have buses with seat­belts.

The NSW Govern­ment had orig­i­nally sup­ported seat­belts to be pro­gres­sively in­stalled on al­most 1700 ded­i­cated school ser­vices over 10 years, com­menc­ing in the 2013-14 fi­nan­cial year, at a cost of around $208 mil­lion.

“Whilst there has been a shift from procur­ing new buses with seat­belts to retrofitting some ex­ist­ing buses with seat­belted seats, the in­dus­try sup­ports the min­is­ter’s plan to ex­pand and ex­pe­dite the pro­gram,” he says.

“The NSW Govern­ment’s pro­posed retrofitting of 1937 ex­ist­ing buses will mean more than a thou­sand ad­di­tional buses will have seat belts, which is good news for re­gional com­mu­ni­ties.”

Ap­prox­i­mately 415 buses that are com­ing to the end of their life will be re­placed with new buses that have seat belts, in ad­di­tion to the 515 buses that have al­ready been re­placed.

“Any project of this scale will have op­er­a­tional chal­lenges and the suc­cess­ful de­liv­ery will re­quire a strong part­ner­ship be­tween in­dus­try and govern­ment,” Threlkeld adds. “We look for­ward to see­ing the de­tail of the retro­fit pro­gram and how it in­te­grates with bus con­tracts and the de­liv­ery of ser­vices.”

Above: Seat­belt in­stal­la­tion on ru­ral and re­gional buses fleet will be fast­tracked to en­sure the safety of re­gional pub­lic trans­port

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