1 November 2021
Queensland

School children in the Far North are riding in style in a brand new school bus as it hits the road for Queensland’s longest school run. 


The Burketown State School bus takes students between Bidunggu Aboriginal Reserve and the school, clocking up nearly 120 kilometres each way. 


The service has received heart-warming feedback from students, who for the first time have reliable transport all the way to school. 


It was important the 90-minute school bus route started with a new bus. For many students in remote communities, transport to school can be a barrier and the new bus makes getting to school easier, safer and more comfortable.


Burketown State School Principal Chris Ford said the difference the bus has made reaches wider into the community than just the benefits to students.


"The bus has been a hit with the students and the whole community," Mr Ford said.


"Coming from so far way, the students have a long day just to get to and from school, having to start their school day earlier than most students across the state.


"With such a long journey, they were excited to see the bus had curtains which they could pull across and settle in for some sleep on their trip, and bag racks to get their bags out of the way to give them more room."


The bus provides transport for eight students, with extra seats able to be used by the community.


"The extra value the bus provides is the ability to also take younger children to and from pre-school and get them into the routine and expectations of schooling," he said.


"For me one of the highlights was listening to a student who was selected to play AFL at a representative level as a consequence of being able to play in a school based competition; and hearing him recognise that he wouldn't have had this opportunity if it wasn't for the bus.


"The additional capacity on the bus has also meant that adult community members can now travel into the school to be trained as teacher aides, which is of great value to the school, those individuals and also the community."


There are a handful of school bus routes in Queensland that run more than 100 kilometres each way but, coming in at 119.5 kilometres (one way), the Burketown State School bus run is the longest. 


A list of Department of Transport and Main Roads school transport offices across Queensland is available online.