We Are Bus-less

Anson L (Year 10), Chief Contributor

Over the years the College has invested a great fortune into a variety of projects and initiatives such as new buildings like the Branwhite Centre and upcoming Bryson Centre, as well as brand new Exploration Courses and even this website. But never has the school invested in owning College buses, rather owing the frequent expense of renting buses for students to represent the College at sporting events or attend excursions. So, should the school really consider owning William Clarke branded buses? 

As students, we have all been on a bus to leave the College for an external event at some time or another, whether it was an excursion to a boat in the harbour back in primary school or the dreaded but now cherished Year 9 camps. The experiences enabled by these buses range from students’ very first time sleeping in a tent in Year 5, to the weekly occurrence of heading to another school to emerge victorious in sport. This is simply a universal, exciting experience of student life at the college. However, what is not a common experience is the bus company travelled with. Every time a student has to leave the school, staff will have to spend their time finding a company that is able to take a number of students at a certain time. This can cause organisation issues as the school contracts multiple companies at once to transport students or even require a Newcastle based company to drive an entire fleet of buses two hours down just for the 30-minute bus ride to the athletic centre. This not only raises the issue of having to pay drivers to drive the four hours to and from Newcastle but also the environmental issues of driving empty 60-seater buses that distance. Sometimes the College is not even capable of providing buses as seen in a recent Year 10 Macbeth excursion in which students were asked to make their own way into Parramatta. If the College was to invest in buses, it would make the organisation of special excursions or even just weekly HZSA competitions that much easier for staff and students. 

My drive to school in the morning is only a ten-minute drive. However, on this drive the sight of dedicated school buses from Loreto, Kings and Penrith Selective High School, a public high school 40 minutes away from the College, flash past my eyes, all providing safe and reliable transport to and from school for their students. Being a private school, William Clarke does not have a catchment area for students meaning that students can practically live anywhere and attend William Clarke. This means that some students are disadvantaged by the fact that Government transportation systems may not be able to fully cater to their transportation needs, resulting in a journey involving multiple buses/trains to get to the College. Contrarily, College owned buses could run routes before and after school to suburbs where a proportion of William Clarke students do not have a reliable one bus route to the College.  

William Clarke College spends a large amount of money to put advertisement material including onto Government buses. A College owned bus with its display of marketing would be a moving billboard driving around Sydney, convincing parents that sending their child to William Clarke would provide them with a safe and reliable transport method as well. 

Investing in buses could also be a source of income for the College. During weekends and school holidays, buses could be hired out externally for community groups and holiday groups to be used. This would not only continue the marketing of the school but also show the support of William Clarke College to the needs of local groups in our area. 

Buses, although a potentially costly investment, would benefit the holistic educational experience and the ease of access to extra-curricular activities for William Clarke students and staff members in a number of ways.