ACTION has apologised for an incident on Thursday afternoon which saw the driver of the 485 School Bus from Telopea Park School ask all 63 students on board to leave the bus, following an incident where students kept ringing the stop bell when nobody planned to get off at the next stop.
After the students left the bus, the driver called the ACTION Communications room to advise them of the situation. He then asked the students to return to the bus, however only ten did so.
The bus then continued along the road to a large group of students with the driver again asking students to re-board the bus, with five more re-boarding. A TAMS spokesperson told The Canberra Times that it then became apparent to the driver that no further students would get back onto the bus, and he continued to operate the service.
Once alerted to the incident, a shuttle van was dispatched to shadow the route to ensure no students were stranded or left waiting for lifts home. The policy in the event of difficult passengers is to park the bus and call the Communications Room for a transport officer to be dispatched.
The bus driver, who has been with ACTION for around three years and has had no previous complaints, has been removed from the shift and an internal investigation is underway. A senior supervisor spoke to the students on Friday afternoon before operating the run.
“It’s a very, very unfortunate situation. Not one that we support. Not one that we condone and we’ll certainly be driving the message home to our driver workforce loud and clear,” Director James Roncon told ABC News
The school would not comment, and a spokesperson for Education Minister Chris Bourke would not say what, if any, disciplinary action had been taken or support offered to the students.