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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 January, 2004, 18:05 GMT
CCTV test for school buses
School transport
It is hoped cameras will encourage more pupils to catch the bus
CCTV cameras are to be tested on school buses in west Wales in an attempt to improve safety.

Carmarthenshire council will be one of the first in Wales to use the system aimed at improving pupil behaviour on the way to and from school.

Bus safety campaigners want to see greater use of cameras on school transport.

If the pilot project on a route to Bryngwyn Comprehensive School in Llanelli is a success it may be extended to other vehicles.

Maybe it will persuade more parents to consider buses because there will be an extra element of reassurance
Passenger manager Kath Timothy

The council's passenger transport manager Kath Timothy told BBC News Online: "Whenever you get large groups of school children on buses you will always get minor behavioural issues which are often just high sprits.

"But we are looking at a number of issues regarding pupil behaviour and we want to see if by having CCTV it will deter any unruly behaviour.

"If it seems to be successful in promoting good behaviour then we would look at this to see what benefit there could be for other schools.

"With measures like CCTV maybe it will persuade more parents to consider buses rather than taking their children in cars on the school run because there will be an extra element of reassurance."

School transport has been under the spotlight in Wales since the death of 12-year-old Stuart Cunningham-Jones in the Vale of Glamorgan.

He died when the double-decker bus he was in careered off the road and hit a tree near the village of Ystradowen in December 2002.

Some bus companies in Wales already use new vehicles which come fitted with CCTV on the school run.

But safety campaigner Pat Harris of the pressure group Belt Up School Kids (Busk) said this was very much the exception rather than the rule.

"We are all in favour of CCTV and have been talking to CCTV manufacturers and the industry," she said.

"We are hoping to make an exciting announcement with regard to CCTV in the near future."

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