"CHANGE NEEDED": Sophie Catlin was lucky her brothers Toby (left) and Blake were with her when school bus services failed to connect yesterday. Mum Kate Catlin says the bus company will have to revise its system to make sure kids like Sophie are not left behind. Contributed

Gympie kids left behind when bus connection fails

SOUTHSIDE mum Kate Catlin says Polleys Coaches needs to update its school bus system, after her three children had to cope with a failed bus connection yesterday afternoon.

She said she is glad her seven-year-old daughter was not alone but was travelling with her two big brothers, including Toby, who at 12 is the eldest of the three.

Mrs Catlin says the children normally catch the 200 bus from Gympie Central State School and change at Gympie High to the 379, which drops them off across Power Road from their Southside home.

"I can then help them cross the road safely," she said.

What happened yesterday was that the 200 bus was held up, probably by traffic, and missed its connection with the bus the children normally catch.

"Luckily they had the presence of mind to get back on the 200 bus when they realised the connecting service, Number 379 had already left," Mrs Catlin said.

Polleys Coaches boss, Warren Polley said delays were sometimes unavoidable, because of traffic hold-ups.

Mr Polley said he was glad the children were still able to get home and said he would speak to everyone involved, including the bus driver, today.

It sometimes happened that children who missed a stop or were on the wrong bus did not mention the problem to the driver.

"I can remember driving kids home in the car if they were stuck," he said.

In this case, both buses ran past the Catlin home, though in different directions. The 379 has a stop across the road.

The 200, which was carrying the three students yesterday, came from the Normanby direction and passed on the same side of the road as the Catlin's home.

But there was nowhere there for it to stop.

Mrs Catlin says the children were dropped off at the Hockey Club, which left them with a substantial walk home and no footpath on that side of a faster-than-average road.

Gympie MP Tony Perrett said he was happy to buy in and even raise the matter with the relevant state minister, in case it was a problem which could happen elsewhere.

"You don't want these sort of circumstances where parents are relying on their kids getting home and connections fail," he said.

"It should be an avoidable circumstance. There should be some sort of communication if there is a delay.

"There should be some level of understanding between drivers so the bus could wait (for a late arrival) or arrange to link up somewhere else," he said.