Three Port Macquarie Busways school buses are currently being equipped with seat belts in phase one of a state wide roll out in rural and regional areas.
In a safety overhaul designed to keep our children even safer on public transport, seat belts are just one of the new features aimed at improving safety.
The first three buses will be operational by the end of July.
The seat belt-fitted buses are part of Transport for NSW’s planned $200 million investment in the installation of seatbelts on buses dedicated to school runs in regional areas.
As part of the plan, all school buses will be fitted with seat belts over the next four years.
Local bus driver, Anthony Dodd said he welcomed the move to seat belted vehicles.
“For me, I have to wear a seat belt when I am in the bus, so it makes sense that the students we transport should as well,” Mr Dodd said.
“When we start using the buses with seat belts over time the students will get used to putting them on when they board and eventually it will be the same as when they get into a car.
“The seat belts are obviously a great safety feature and it should cut down on the students moving around the bus when they aren’t supposed to.”
By law, all bus drivers and passengers must use the seat belts in any vehicle that is fitted with them and each person must use their own.
Frank Maurer, operations manager at the Busways Port Macquarie said the installation of the belts is a great thing.
“We are very excited about the roll out and welcome anything that will improve safety for those who come aboard our buses,” Mr Maurer said.
The buses will be out in the community sooner rather than later after all our drivers have been properly trained.”
The other major new safety feature on the new buses includes the addition of a modernised evacuation side door.
Gavin Muller station commander with Fire and Rescue NSW Port Macquarie said his officers were able to be briefed on the features on June 5.
“Today has really been an opportunity for our officers to take a tour of the new buses so they understand the new safety features,” Mr Muller said.
“As well as the seat belts the buses will be equipped with one of the biggest emergency exit doors I have seen.
“So if an emergency was to occur we would be able to help trapped exit easily as well as being able to get a stretcher through the door if ambulance officers were called.”
The bus model is also fitted with an engine retarder that works to slow the vehicle down as the accelerator pedal is released.