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Father takes on transit authorities after kids not picked up by bus

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Richard Rankin is annoyed. Not only did a bus driver leave his children behind but he has not been able to get a satisfactory answer about what happened.

Mr Rankin’s sons, aged 15 and 13, attempted to catch the 615 bus from the University of the Sunshine Coast station to him at Landsborough just after 3pm one day earlier this year. However, as they approached, they saw the bus drive off immediately after a passenger alighted.

Mr Rankin claims Translink has not properly investigated his complaint about the incident and he has been “fobbed off” with wrong information.

He said bus company Kinetic was “less than helpful” when he called and the operator, after checking, told him there was nobody at the station when the bus left.

He said he asked to see footage but was told to make a complaint with Translink, which responded on February 9 on behalf of Kinetic, saying CCTV footage had been reviewed, the bus “dwelled” at the station for 38 seconds, and nobody hailed the bus.

Mr Rankin was directed by Translink to police for the footage, who directed him to the council, which directed him to the university, which gave him footage after he made a right to information request.

The footage shows the bus stop for about 12 seconds to set down a passenger and then drive off while four students who have walked directly towards it are almost within an arm’s length.

“They were walking towards the bus from a short distance away from the platform. They were almost at the door of the bus when the driver shut it and went,” Mr Rankin said.

“But that isn’t the worse of it. The worst part is the lies and the apparent cover-up from Translink, and then making me do the investigation.

“All I’ve wanted from the start is what happened, and why did it happen, and what to do we need to do to keep it from happening again.”

A Translink spokesperson said an investigation was conducted in conjunction with Kinetic after a complaint was received.

“Investigations based on bus GPS and ticketing data showed the driver did stop at the bus stop and a passenger got off the bus,” the statement said.

“The CCTV footage of this matter shows the children were not ready and waiting at the bus stop, did not hail the driver, and did not approach the bus while it was waiting at the bus stop.”

The spokesperson said bus drivers could not see people approaching from behind as they pulled away because they had to focus on merging safely on to the road.

A statement from Kinetic said every inquiry or allegation was investigated using onboard monitoring, CCTV and other systems where available, and appropriate action taken if the company’s values and expectations were not met.

Richard Rankin is not happy with an explanation he received about why a bus did not pick up his sons.

Mr Rankin took issue with the Translink response that the students did not hail the bus, saying it was a bus station where buses on that route stopped, not a bus stop.

“The kids every day get on that bus. The drivers all know that,” he said.

“I thought there was a policy about no children being left behind after Daniel (Morcombe),” he said.

“This is just as slap in the face for that policy.”

Both Kinetic and Translink reminded people to hail buses if they wished to get on. Kinetic suggested people arrive five minutes early and ensure they stand somewhere they can be seen.

Mr Rankin said there was no point hailing if drivers were not looking.

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