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School Transport

2017/09/07 9:15:50 AM

This week’s bus accident involving boys and staff from Michaelhouse has been tragic. St Benedict’s ... 

This week’s bus accident involving boys and staff from Michaelhouse has been tragic. St Benedict’s expresses our sincerest condolences to the Michaelhouse community and will continue to keep the boys, families and staff of Michaelhouse in our prayers. Yesterday, in solidarity with other school chaplains, Fr Thabo lit a prayer candle in the College Oratory and our boys and staff observed a moment of silence before the praying of the Angelus at noon. 

The tragedy is every parent’s worst nightmare and will undoubtedly raise questions in the minds of all parents across the country regarding the safety of their children on school vehicles. In light of these possible concerns, I believe it is prudent to draw our parents’ attention to the structures that are in place at St Benedict’s to ensure the safety of our boys and staff. 

St Benedict’s has a fleet of 12 vehicles used to transport boys and staff: 7 buses and 5 kombis. These vehicles are managed by Richard Wilson, our Transport Manager. All our vehicles are roadworthied and their service history is kept up to date. They are also all appropriately and clearly marked as school buses with reflective chevron tape in all the correct places.

Our senior driver, Mashudu Dangale, oversees a daily inspection of each vehicle and any areas of concern are immediately brought to the attention of our Transport Manager who also inspects the vehicles on a fortnightly basis. We keep meticulous records of inspections; reported and observable problems as well as the resolution thereof.

All our vehicles have seatbelts and the older models that were purchased without seatbelts had them retro-fitted in 2015. The buses are driven by five permanent drivers and our coaching staff. The five drivers as well our coaches are appropriately licensed and are also in possession of Professional Drivers’ Permits. The five permanent drivers - who usually undertake the lengthier journeys - all completed an Advanced Driving Course in 2015.

All our vehicles are monitored by Tracker and we have a continuous record of our drivers’ performance on the roads. Stringent disciplinary structures are in place for instances where drivers are found to be contravening the rules of the road. In fact, we dismissed a driver in 2016 for exceeding the speed limit.

When the need arises to hire vehicles, we use reputable companies who employ licensed drivers and are able to produce operating licences and roadworthy certificates for their buses. Admittedly, for purposes of affordability, these buses are not always the most luxurious. All our staff are instructed not to proceed with a journey should they have any reservations about the condition of a hired vehicle or the ability of its driver. 

Whilst it is impossible to rule out accidents such as that experienced by Michaelhouse, the safety of our boys and staff will always be of paramount importance. We regularly review the structures we have in place and will continue to welcome constructive feedback and input from our parents.

Kind regards
Andre Oosthuysen

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