STUDENTS behaving badly on school buses face life-time bans under tough new guidelines being rolled out by the Newman Government today.
The rules also aim to stop students refusing to pay fares under the guise of the Daniel Morcombe policy which required drivers to take any children on board.
Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson said the guidelines, recommended by the Bus Safety Committee, would ensure students who repeatedly fare evaded or behaved poorly could be dealt with seriously.
"The new Safe Travel of School Students guidelines are a response to issues raised with me in May last year about students who think they can misbehave or repeatedly fail to pay a fare then exploit a principle, put in place following the disappearance of Daniel Morcombe," Mr Emerson said.
"These new guidelines were developed in consultation with education and transport organisations, including the Department of Education, TransLink, Queensland Bus Industry Council, Brisbane Transport, the Rail Tram and Bus Union, and Transport Workers' Union.
"They will provide clarity for the bus industry, outlining the rights and responsibilities of students, teachers and drivers."
Penalties will range from a warning for offensive behaviour to a permanent ban for attacking a driver or other passengers. This behaviour may also result in court action or prosecution.
"I agree with the principle of 'no child left behind', but unlike the previous government I'm not going to ignore the challenges that come with it," Mr Emerson said.
"I was shocked to learn that a situation had developed over several years where up to half of students on some routes were flatly refusing to pay a fare and telling drivers that their name was Donald Duck.
"There is now a clear distinction between those students who unintentionally have an insufficient bus fare or do not fully understand the public transport network and those who just abuse the system."
The guidelines will be rolled out to bus operators and drivers in the coming months. A full outline of the new guidelines will be available at www.tmr.qld.gov.au
Category 1: Unacceptable behaviour
Irritating, unpleasant or offensive behaviour. For example, offensive language or fare evasion
Initially a warning will be given. Repeat offences may lead to the student being refused transport for up to five school days
Category 2: Dangerous behaviour
Where there may be some physical danger to individuals. For example, harassing and bullying other passengers, verbally threatening the driver, pushing and shoving when boarding and exiting the bus, spitting or smoking.
The refusal of the student's transport for up to 10 school days.
Category 3: Dangerous and destructive behaviour
Behaviour that is very dangerous to individuals or very destructive. For example, fighting, damaging bus property or throwing objects that have the potential to cause harm or damage
The refusal of the student's transport for up to 10 school weeks.
Category 4: Life-threatening behaviour
Highly dangerous behaviour. For example, physically attacking the driver or other passengers, or threatening physical harm with a dangerous weapon.
The permanent refusal of travel privileges. The student may also face civil court action and/or police prosecution.