Wauchope’s mother, Shalisa McDonough, calls for changes to student transportation program | Port Macquarie News

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A mother from Wauchope is pushing for an overhaul of the school bus pass system in the name of child safety. Shalisa McDonough has started a petition on change.org to call for better transportation to and from schools. Ultimately, she would like every child in the state’s primary school to be entitled to a free school pass. Miss McDonough usually accompanies her eight-year-old daughter, Monique, to and from school, as the third-grader is not entitled to a free school pass. The mother-of-three is being appealed against the bus pass decision with Transport for NSW. A spokesperson for Transport for NSW said the appeal of the decision would be reviewed by an independent panel over the coming week. The walk from the family home to Wauchope Public School is approximately 1.5 miles, including the need to cross a main thoroughfare and negotiate stretches with no trails. “It’s a complete zigzag way to get to school,” Miss McDonough said. The walk takes 40 minutes each way. Loghan, Miss McDonough’s seven-year-old son, is entitled to a free school pass, but usually walks with the family to make it fair for everyone. “I believe the safety of children is paramount,” said Ms. McDonough. “Transportation should be made easier to and from school for each child. The bus rides to and from school also taught the children many life skills, she said. The School Student Transport Scheme provides eligible students with free or subsidized travel between home and school on New South Wales public transport. A spokesperson for Transport for NSW said students must meet eligibility criteria for their year of schooling. Program eligibility describes a minimum distance between home and school. This is for Kindergarten to Grade 2, no minimum distance; 3-6 years, distance of 1.6 km in a straight line or 2.3 km of walk or more; and years 7-12, walking distance in a straight line of 2 km or 2.9 km or more. Students who do not meet the eligibility criteria for free travel can purchase a school pass to travel by bus between home and school. The school bus card costs $ 55 per term within the Opal network. Rural and regional bus operators may also offer students discounted school bus passes, the price of which is determined at the discretion of each bus company. Miss McDonough admits she could buy a school bus pass, but says money is tight at times. Its position is on fairness and security. What else is in the news? While you’re with us, you can also receive updates straight to your inbox from Port Macquarie News. To be up to date with all the news, sign up here. If you would like to support our journalists, you can register here.

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