OVERCROWDING on a Keolis Downer school bus meant students from Swansea were forced to make their own way to class at Gateshead on Monday morning.
The 775 school bus, which begins its morning run from Swansea Heads picking up kids from Caves Beach and then Swansea, was so packed on Monday the bus driver was forced to turn kids away at the bus stops along the Pacific Highway at Swansea.
Swansea resident Danene Shrume, whose two kids attend St Mary’s Catholic College at Gateshead, said at least three bus stops were missed.
Her kids were lucky enough to get on before the missed bus stops but said overcrowding had been an issue last year as well.
“My daughter counted over 32 kids standing,” she said of the afternoon run back to Swansea. “I don’t know how many are supposed to be standing on a bus. I feel sorry for those year seven kids … when they seen it go by they would have been very stressed.”
Swansea MP Yasmin Catley said her office had received multiple complaints from parents.
“Keolis Downer needs to pick up their act and listen to the problems people are experiencing,” she said.
“Parents and children have long been describing overcrowding on the 775 and Keolis Downer has done nothing about it.
“They need to provide more buses for this route.”
Keolis Downer said the 775 bus services Belmont High School, Hunter Sports High and St Mary’s College.
A spokesperson said the company was “committed to ensuring students are able to travel to and from school and is monitoring all school services closely since the return of the school year”.
“We are aware of capacity issues with the school Route 775 and therefore have been providing an additional service to assist students travelling between Gateshead and Swansea Heads,” the spokesperson said.
“Keolis Downer Hunter is working directly with St Marys College and has customer service officers on the ground to assist students and monitor services in both mornings and afternoons.”
Keolis Downer did not indicate whether another bus had been provided to pick up the kids missed on Monday.
However, it did offer an alternative for students travelling north from Swansea.
“In addition to the Route 775, students travelling between Gateshead and Swansea Heads also have access to the Route 14 bus which runs every 30 minutes.”