BUS route changes provide easier access for some Yanchep Secondary College students, but those walking may have to wait a couple of years for the path network to connect.
The Public Transport Authority (PTA) has diverted bus routes 490 and 491 to service the school for morning drop-offs and afternoon pick-ups.
Parent Karl Gibson said it was “ludicrous” that the infrastructure was not in place before the school opened, highlighting the gap in the Marmion Avenue path network between Peony Boulevard and Morwell Street.
“There is no safe pedestrian access or crossings for kids to get there,” he said.
Mr Gibson said he contacted the school and City of Wanneroo about access routes several months ago, and received a letter in January that the City would finish the paths when it widened Marmion Avenue in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
The Yanchep resident said 2019 or 2020 wasn’t “good enough as the school is open now”.
“The safety of kids is paramount,” he said.
“Infrastructure needs to be in place when something like a school opens.
“It’s not an option; it’s a safety requirement.”
Mr Gibson said there also needed to be crossings on Yanchep Beach Road and Marmion Avenue.
The City’s assets director Harminder Singh said the City had received two complaints about the issue and had completed a review to prioritise all pathways within its boundaries.
“As a result, the City identified a number of missing pathway sections around Yanchep Secondary College including along Marmion Avenue,” he said.
“The pathway sections along Marmion Avenue and funding for these projects will be considered as part of the budget process.”
Mr Singh said the City had been working with principals at the college and Yanchep Beach Primary School to address pedestrian safety issues.
“(That) has resulted in the installation of a crossing point on Lindsay Beach Boulevard and an application for a crossing point on Yanchep Beach Road,” he said.
“The process for the installation of children’s crossing is lengthy and controlled by the Children’s Crossing and Road Safety Committee, which reports directly to the Minister for Road Safety.”
Mr Singh said the installation timeframe depended on the committee and the City had no control over that process.
“With multiple route options from homes north of Yanchep Beach Road and west of Marmion Ave students should identify and use the route they feel most comfortable with,” he said.
Principal James Kent said students coming from west of Marmion Avenue should cross at the traffic signals and there was a longer path passing the shopping centre.
“Students will probably choose to go a bit cross country to be more efficient,” he said.
PTA spokesman David Hynes said Transperth had a policy to deviate existing services when possible rather than provide dedicated school bus routes.
“This is more efficient, and ensures the broader community can also access the services,” he said.
Mr Hynes said changes to the routes 490 and 491 came into effect on January 28 to service Yanchep Secondary College.
He said route 490 left Two Rocks Shopping Centre about 8.08am on school days and deviated via Yanchep Secondary College, arriving about 8.28am.
In the afternoon, it left the Blackwood Meander stop about 3.03pm, deviated via Northshore Christian Grammar and St James Anglican schools in Alkimos on its way to Butler Station.
Mr Hynes said in the mornings route 491 would leave the Wilkie Avenue/Grey Court stop about 8.05am and arrive at the college about 8.15am.
He said that route would also leave Butler Station about 8.03am, deviating via the Alkimos private schools before arriving at Yanchep Secondary College about 8.28am.
“Route 491 travelling to Butler Station will depart stand 2 (stop 27799) on Blackwood Meander at 3.03pm, then deviate via Northshore Christian Grammar School and St James Anglican School,” he said.
“Students should note that non-deviating routes 490 and 491 trips operate along Marmion Avenue, within easy walking distance of Yanchep Secondary College.
“Alternatively, students can take these routes from stops on Marmion Avenue and walk along Blackwood Meander to the school.”
At the Two Rocks Yanchep Residents Association (TRYRA) meeting on January 29 president Peter Wimsett welcomed news of a bus route taking students to the new school.
“It’s certainly better than dropping them on the road and making them walk,” he said.
Dr Kent said the orange school buses had been filled, with the number of students enrolled taking government departments by surprise.
“Some of the ways of students getting to the school haven’t necessarily been thought out as well as they could,” he said.
Mr Hynes said about 50 eligible rural students had also been allocated a seat on existing school bus service routes.
Mr Wimsett said TRYRA was still concerned about the bus stop south of Peony Boulevard, where traffic builds up behind buses that stop for passengers.
“Someone drove on the wrong side of the road to get around the bus,” he said.