STOOD DOWN: Jai and India Hand were left standing on the side of Tin Can Bay Rd after all four school buses failed to pick them up.
STOOD DOWN: Jai and India Hand were left standing on the side of Tin Can Bay Rd after all four school buses failed to pick them up. Renee Albrecht

Driver abuses boy for getting off overcrowded bus

A SCHOOL bus driver has lost his job and a Gympie family has received an apology after an incident involving their 16-year-old son.

Cassandra and Adam Hand live on Tin Can Bay Rd, about 14km out of Gympie, and they send their children to school each day by bus.

But after nearly eight years of using the school buses, Mrs Hand told her eldest, son Jai, that she did not want him and his younger sisters standing and told them to get off the bus if they could not get a seat.

Which is exactly what Jai did last Wednesday, only to be abused by the driver, who called him a "moron" and "idiot" and took his bus pass off him, Mrs Hand said.

But Jai stuck to his guns and got off the bus, preferring to wait for another one of the four which service the area.

Mrs Hand rang Polley's about the incident and management agreed it wasn't right and arrangements were made to ensure Jai got to school.

However, all of the four buses which cover the Tin Can Bay route drove straight past him, leaving him stranded on the side of the road.

More phone calls followed and again they apologised and made arrangements to ensure Jai was picked up.

"It's all been sorted now," Mr Hand said yesterday.

"But I stand behind what my wife did and said - we knew it wasn't safe for either him or his sisters to be standing in a school bus - if there was an accident, they would be the first to be injured."

Mr Hand said the bus driver probably reacted the way he did because he didn't want to be late getting the kids to school.

"But I'd rather he was late than my kids be dead," Mr Hand said.

Representatives from Polley's Coaches, the bus driver and Mr Hand met on Friday to discuss what had happened on Wednesday and Thursday.

The bus driver apologised to the family and Polley's has since terminated his employment, a Polley's Coaches spokesman said.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads also received a complaint about the incidents, a department spokesman said.

Polley's Coaches has also undertaken to improve fleet management to resolve any temporary overcrowding on this bus route, the spokesman said.

Gympie Times

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