School looks to expand bus services due to lack of transport
A PRESTIGIOUS Ipswich school will explore an expansion of its bus services to cater for population growth in the city's fastest growing areas.
Ripley, Redbank Plains and Augustine Heights are among the fastest growing areas in the state with a 14 per cent increase in traffic over one year.
With minimal public transport available and no firm plans to extend a rail line, St Edmund's College principal Diarmuid O'Riordan has decided to take action.
The school will explore the viability of starting a new bus service to begin operation in 2019, in partnership with St Mary's College.
If the demand is established, the service would cover Ripley, Redbank Plains and Augustine Heights.
Part of the decision to explore options has been driven by plans to open new Catholic and State primary schools in Redbank Plains in 2020.
It's early days, but Mr O'Riordan wants to ensure families moving to the area have the option of sending their children to his Ipswich school without transport presenting a barrier.
"It's a major growth area," Mr O'Riordan said.
"This is about starting a conversation with parents who might be interested in sending their boys here. It's essentially a feasibility study and that will include determining whether existing transport options are adequate.
"We might find there are lots of parents living in those areas who would like to send their children to our school but at the moment the transport if not convenient.
During the next few months, St Edmund's intends to hold community consultation information sessions and conduct school visits.
Ipswich City Council's latest traffic count program shows traffic within the city increased by 4 per cent in 12 months and 17 per cent over the past five years.
The program identified Springfield, Bellbird Park, Brookwater and Augustine Heights as the suburbs with the highest five-year growth rate at 31per cent.