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Transparent Clauses

A “tongue in cheek” look at how Clearly Clarified and Consistent Contract Clauses should be written if done in the literal way they are, were or should be, to understood the new unilateral category sliding method and other typically inconsistent and Department favoured practices. (Plus notes on why these need to be clarified properly)

Vehicle Category Payments.


Payments are made according to the following:-

1 – 4 students are paid a Sedan Category.

5 – 7 students are paid a People Mover Category

8 – 12 students are paid a Mini Bus Category

13 + students are paid a Maxi Bus Category

1 – 3 wheelchair students are paid a 1-3 Wheelchair Category

4 + wheelchair students are paid a 4+ Wheelchair Category


1) Wheelchair rates will only apply to runs where the minimum wheelchair students are met. Fold up wheelchairs are considered luggage and do not add to wheelchair student numbers.

2) When a run has students that are not needed to be seated in lockdown wheelchairs, that run is paid by the number of students using other available seats. It will be paid according to the above Categories.

Student absences are paid as in Clause16.1. The updated run card will advise the permanent removal of any student. If that removal reduces the total student numbers to that of a lower category, payment of that lower category will take effect immediately in line with the date on the updated run card.

Eg. A People Mover with 5 students has a student permanently removed from a run on the 15th of the month. This now reduces the category of that run to a sedan (regardless of the size of the nominated vehicle). Payment from the 1st to the 14th of that month will be paid in the Category of a People Mover then from the 15th until the end of the month payment will be made in the Category of a Sedan. It will continue at the Sedan rate until such time as another student is permanently added to the run.

Eg. A 1-3 Wheelchair vehicle has 1 student in a lock down wheelchair plus 3 students in other available seats. The wheelchair student is permanently removed on the 7th of the month. Two additional “walk on” students are permanently attached to the run on the 20th of the same month. Payment will be made in the 1-3 Wheelchair Category from the 1st until the 6th of the month then payment will be made in the Sedan Category from the 7th until the 19th of the month. The run will then be paid at People Mover Rates from the 20th until either the end of the month or until such time as students are either added or removed.

Eg. A Wheelchair 4+ has 4 students in lock down wheel chairs. A student is removed permanently on the 4th of the month. Payment from this date will now be made in the 1-3 wheelchair Category until such time that the operator meets the minimum requirement of wheelchair students in this Category.

Runs with students exceeding the nominated Vehicle’s Capacity.

For runs where the nominated vehicle has more students than the seating capacity and two trips are necessary to transport these students, PAYMENT WILL BE BASED ON THE NOMINATED VEHICLE CATEGORY ONLY. Additional Km’s travelled for the second trip will contribute to the overall loaded Km’s for the day. The unloaded Km’s for the return trip to pick up remaining students will NOT contribute to the daily Km’s.

Eg. A People Mover has 10 students attached to the run. It is necessary to drop 7 students to school first then drive to collect the remaining 3 students. The daily Km’s will begin from the pickup of the first student until the school. Then start again from the address of the 8th student to the school. The unloaded Km’s driven to pick up the 8th student will NOT contribute to the overall daily Km’s. The same will apply for the reverse trip. Since the nominated vehicle is not a Mini Bus, payment will only be made in the People Mover Category regardless of any extra number of students added.

If it is not stipulated as being a breach of contract to accept more students than vehicle capacity then this practice will continue. If needed for emergency reasons only, perhaps add temporary exemption examples.

Separation of Students

To maintain consistency with operators and Category payments, no allowance will be made for oversized or behavioural students who need extra space. The vehicle Category is determined by the number of students attached to the run regardless of the necessity of a larger vehicle.

Eg. A Sedan run with 4 students with one or more students being larger in size and needing the space of 2 seats does not constitute a People Mover Category. This run will be paid at the Sedan Category Rate regardless that the larger vehicle is necessary to transport them. The same will apply for behavioural students who need separation.

This arrangement could be open to abuse from operators but a request should not simply be dismissed, but carefully assessed by the school. Similarly, sometimes the separation of 2 problem students is all that is necessary for safety (and sanity) for a run. My Eg. Two students “set off” all the students on my run causing a HUGE safety problem when driving. One had to be met by 2 teachers each day needing to hold him down before dragging him into school. On the days the 2nd student was away, the first student was perfect and vice versa. This took me endless requests via lengthy emails and phone calls begging for their separation. IT TOOK A WHOLE TERM. Point is – sometimes believe the operators.

Wait Time

Runs with 2 schools attached having a waiting period between finishing times of both schools does not attract a separate payment. Students from the first school are NOT to be taken home in this period. They are to remain buckled in the stationary vehicle at all times while waiting for the second school to finish. Payment will be made according to the total loaded kilometres from the pickup at the first school through to the drop off of the last student.

Eg. Three students are picked up from the first school at 2.20pm then arrive at the second school by 2.30pm to collect another 3 students. Since the finishing time for this school is 3pm there is to be a 30 minute Wait Time. In this time students are to remain in their seat belts in the vehicle. The Driver must NOT leave the vehicle. The Department will NOT pay any allowance for this waiting time.

I know you disagree with this method ***** but not sure what can be done other than what you said about it being 2 runs, but that would be seen as inefficient allocating so I know the Department would not agree to it.

I’d like to add here, apart from the discomfort to the students trapped inside a hot car, the wait also gets them so bored that they go berserk when the other students arrive making the drive even more dangerous. In my case, the 2 waiting students were aged 8. They came out at 2.25 and arrived home at 4.30 and 5.15. Sometimes to keep them calm while waiting, the driver had to continuously drive around the area or I had to pay a separate driver to take the second lot of students. Either way, it was a huge loss and extremely stressful.

Time in the Vehicle

The hour and a half rule is only a guide used in allocations to appease parents. While ever parents choose to live in remote areas they need to accept the consequence. This rule will only be enforced while ever the parent does not complain or while ever it remains economically cheaper for the department.

Seriously though, this is what it seems to be. Some areas will insist on test runs to make sure the run will not exceed the time rule while other areas will completely disregard the rule if it better suits the department. I’m not sure if still applicable in this contract but unless stringently clarified and applied, both operators and students will suffer.

3rd Leg of a Run.

With runs that require a middle of the day trip to return a student with an earlier finishing time, this trip forms part of the total run and only those Km’s from the school to the students address will be added to the overall daily Km’s. There will be no payment for the unloaded Km’s necessary to collect this student. This will NOT constitute a 2nd run or a half run payment.

Eg. A Maxi bus takes 13 students to school in the morning and picks up 12 to return them home in the afternoon. The extra child is to be returned home at midday. The extra 2 Km’s driven from the school to the home address may be added to the overall daily Km’s for the run. The 20 unloaded Km’s do NOT count toward your overall daily Km’s.

I am not sure why operators were treated differently in this but in past years some were offered a ‘half daily rate’ while others were to do 3 journeys on the one rate. I am unaware if it still applies this year but if it is not made clear in the contract it WILL revert back. I don’t think it should necessarily be classed a separate run though. Depending on where, either the actual km’s or a half min km rate would be sufficient.

Route Variations

When a student’s parent is not at the address on arrival this student must stay in the vehicle to complete the rest of the run then be returned after the usual last drop off. Only the total mapped Km’s for this run will be paid. Additional Km’s necessary from the usual last drop off to the drop off of the remaining student do NOT add to your overall daily Km’s since there is already an allowance included in the rates to cover unexpected driving. The same applies for routes necessary to avoid traffic congestion or natural disasters. This is applicable regardless of the amount of days in a month that this occurs.

Eg. The first student to be dropped home each day often has no one home. They must continue on the full run then be returned at the end. Though this student remains in the vehicle after the usual last drop off, the vehicle is still considered to be an unloaded vehicle as the return trip is not the mapped route. Regardless of the Km’s driven with this student on board, NO extra Km’s can be claimed.

If we are not allowed to vary the route unless it is over 10 Km’s, the above example could be dire depending on where the usual last drop off is in comparison to the remaining student and the home address of the driver. While it may only add 10 loaded km’s, returning to the earlier address could add twice as many unloaded km’s to the run. Drivers often need to return a second time to an address but usually it’s not a huge drive and so never mention it, but it would need to be clarified for long and/or regular occurrences. Perhaps pay the loaded km’s plus the unloaded km’s back to the usual last drop off? This could also be open to abuse though.

Industrial Action

Clause 16.2.1 covers private commercial risks to operators where payment will not apply. One being “industrial action” taken by drivers and/or operators. This commercial risk is also meant to apply to stop work meetings taken by public servants. Regardless that this is a mandated school day legally obliged to remain open to accept students, parents who, as with any other day, have the choice to send or not send their children to school, is still NOT classed as a “temporary absence”. Drivers must not view this day as “pupil free” and are expected to perform the run in the usual manner if required. If students do not attend school yet no notice was given whereby the entire Run was driven, NO PAYMENT WILL APPLY.

Payment for Half Day Teacher Strikes.

As with clause 16.1.2, no payment will apply for the morning of a half day strike if parents CHOOSE to keep their child home. Again, this is NOT considered a temporary absence and regardless of having driven the run when no notice was given by the parents, NO payment will be made for the km’s driven in the morning. Instead, the department will pay a “half day” rate for the afternoon only. This ‘half day’ rate will be paid using a calculation method decided upon by the Department. In this case, the Department have chosen to ignore the method of payment stated on the Rates Schedule where “Kilometres are paid for the total of AM and PM combined”, in preference of using a calculation which amounts to substantially less. While we have denied a payment for AM kilometres (whether driven or not) the Department will include the AM kilometres in this calculation so as to offset the total PM kilometres. This then reduces the Total Daily Payment to an amount more suitable to the Department’s desire.

Minimum 30 Km’s Per Run

The promised 30km minimum for any run will NOT apply in all situations. The Department at times will choose to ignore this rule if it is found to benefit the Department. The Department has the right not to pre divulge this information as it will be deducted automatically from your monthly payment. Since this information is not included on the RCTI any operator questioning this reduction may ring the Department whereby an explanation will also include a tacit threat to the survival of your run.

Seriously *****, if you can validate these weird and wonderful biased “interpretations” and mathematical equations I would love to hear them before I return to school to learn of this new Maths Structure and English Metamorphosis. If not, please see this as a perfect example in the ‘simple’ lives of operators where over the years these miraculous changes materialize overnight leaving us no choice but to accept and move on.

PS. Apparently now with run evaluation 1- 5 = 4. Can you confirm this please?

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