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No distancing, no good

Tranzit Coachlines said they are following the same guidance as every other bus company contracted to transport school children in New Zealand. PHOTO/FILE

Parent starts petition against bus rules
Tranzit following rules

KAREN COLTMAN
[email protected]

A parent whose children usually travel to school by bus does not want them “squashed in like sardines like they normally are” when they resume their education.

Mahi Annand, pictured with her two children, wants Tranzit to provide better school bus conditions. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Parent of two, Mahi Annand, is so outraged that Tranzit Coachlines intend not to practise social distancing on the school buses next week that on Wednesday morning she started a petition on ‘change.org’ called, ‘Tranzit endangering students’ health’.

“Our children’s health will not be put at risk!,” Annand said. “Tranzit Group’s approach of not increasing the number of school buses threatens to create coronavirus clusters amongst students. Increase the number of school buses to allow for social distancing amongst students to and from school.”

A statement on Facebook from Tranzit said social distancing on the school buses was not practical

“Physical distancing from the driver is to be maintained, but there is no requirement for students to be distanced from each other.”

In a follow-up statement to the Times-Age, Tranzit manager Jenna Snelgrove said: “Tranzit is looking forward to welcoming students on our school buses on Monday. We’ve been working closely with each of the schools we deliver services to, and taking guidance from the Education and Health Ministries, to ensure we deliver a safe journey to our drivers and students at Alert Level 2.

“We understand that parents may have concerns about their children travelling on school buses during Alert Level 2 and we’re aware of the petition. It’s disappointing as we had reached out to the individual involved offering to speak with them directly so we could answer their transport questions or allay any concerns. At this time, they have not responded to our offer, which by the way still stands.

“We have passed on their concerns to the Ministry of Education and we have received support from a number of schools reaching out to us today.”

The company would keep up-to-date bus passenger lists to enable tracing and said it was the school’s responsibility to maintain the list.

There will be hand sanitiser available to students when they get on the bus and the buses would be sanitised after each trip.

Tranzit would follow the same guidance as every other bus company contracted to transport school children in New Zealand.

Comments on the bus company’s Facebook group page were around concern about droplets of saliva landing on other passengers and also that children were standing on the school bus at times so it was impossible to avoid a “moist zone”.

Others pointed out that a parent’s bubble will expand to include many other parents and their children as the school bus goes to several schools on the same trip.

Annand has made contact with the principals of the schools her two children attend to communicate her objection to Tranzit’s intention to not have any social distancing requirement for children on its school buses.

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