18 Aug Focus on welfare of the students
Popes Timboon operations manager David Pope said his company’s focus was on the welfare of the students involved in Monday morning’s accident on Cowleys Creek Road.
“It was a frightening experience for everyone and we are first and foremost concerned for the welfare of the students,” he said.
“Our support and concern extends to not only the students who suffered physical injuries, but to all the students who experienced this scare.”
Mr Pope said his company had raised concerns with Corangamite Shire about the poor condition of Cowleys Creek Road on several occasions prior to the accident.
“It is regretful that the condition of the road was in such a state that a bus load of school children were unwittingly put at risk,” he said.
“While we regret any accident involving our bus fleet, we take some respite in Senior Constable Ash Ellernor’s assessment that the condition of the road caused the accident.
“I am very proud of the way our driver handled the situation and in our response. This could have been much more serious, so we’re thankful for that.”
Mr Pope said that although it wasn’t legislated, Popes Timboon made the decision more than 15 years ago to fit all of its buses with seat belts.
“In 2010 we also chose to reduce the speed limit of our school buses to 90km/h to combat the decaying road conditions in our area,” he said.
“Unfortunately, Monday is a reminder to all our passengers of the importance of wearing the seatbelts provided. It is also a timely reminder of the importance of continuing to push all levels of government for adequate funds to maintain safe roads for all users.”
Mr Pope said the company would continue to work closely with Timboon P-12 School to provide support to the students and families involved.