The seatbelts on the bus go click, click, click.

Sounder News

Wednesday, September 11 2019

When the public school students of Gabriola boarded the school bus last week, they found themselves putting on seatbelts.

The bus picks up students going to Nanaimo for Grades 8 to 12; and to Gabriola Elementary for Grades K-7.

It is one of two Nanaimo Ladysmith Public School’s (NLPS) buses equipped with seat belts for the driver and all passengers. There are three belts per ‘bench’.

The seat belts will be a mandatory requirement and must be worn at all times.

Both of the Gabriola drivers, Rick Fleming and John Alexander, were on board for the first few days of the school year, helping students get used to the type of seatbelt being worn.

Fleming said it will be a learning curve for the students as they get used to having the belts, and how the belts are done up, but so far it has gone well.

These two buses are the first in the District, and one of only a few in use throughout the province which are seatbelt equipped.

The plan, according to the District, is to phase in seatbelts with new buses as the fleet is replaced.

Dale Burgos, Executive Director of Communications for the District said the decision was made as the previous Gabriola bus was in need of replacement. “Plus having a new bus on Gabriola means less need for mechanics to make the trip over there in case of a breakdown.”

David Prevost, District Transportation Manager said the buses would be providing daily bus service to and from school but will also be used to provide field trip service. 

In a letter to parents, he wrote asked parents to ensure that, “your child is made aware of this change and the requirement that all passengers must properly use the seat belts. We expect the use of seat belts may cause minor time delays on bus routes and field trips. Students not properly using the seat belts may be faced with possible refusal of riding privileges. School buses are considered one of the safest vehicles on the road, however, the district wants to keep our students and other passengers as safe as possible. Seat belts for all passengers will add another layer of protection for the passengers on our buses.”