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Community & Business

8 March, 2023

50 years of excellence

Colleen Horton: How can a community possibly thank you enough for 50 years, safe, professional bus transportation of our children?

It’s very easy to take for granted, that when we wave goodbye to our children as they board the school bus, that they will arrive safely at school.

Horton’s Bus Service has been transporting school students safely to and from their school since 1972 and the Queensland Bus and Coach Industry has recently presented Horton’s Bus Service with a Fifty Year Award for meritorious service.

Colleen Horton and her husband Kevin began the school bus service in late 1972 after moving from Leeton in NSW. 

It is probably safe to say that Colleen never thought fifty years later she would still be driving students to school.

Horton’s buses are a regular daily sighting in the district and year after year the buses have delivered students safely to school.

When interviewed, Colleen was quick to say that she had time away from driving the buses when she had her four children.

Her son Ben now works servicing the buses.

“In fifty years we’ve had only three mechanical issues  and I have to thank Clifton Auto Ag for the work they do on our buses,” she said.

Colleen’s greatest challenge came with the death of her husband ten years ago when she was not sure if she could continue to run to company.

“I couldn’t have continued without the wonderful support I received from the Clifton community,” she said.

Upon reflection on driving students each day she remembered one humorous incident when a student released a mouse in the bus and the reaction it received.

A more serious incident occurred very early in her career when a 16 years old student had a bad seizure when the bus was 15km from the nearest town.

Colleen, with the aid of students, helped the boy from the bus and put him on his side in the recovery position and called 000.

This was the boy’s first ever seizure and so was very unexpected but fortunately Colleen had First Aid training and reacted appropriately.

Alongside students and parents, Clifton schools have benefitted from Horton’s high quality service over the past five decades and have all been warm in their praise.

A spokesperson for Clifton State High School congratulated Horton’s Bus Service for reaching such an important milestone.

“What a remarkable achievement; half a century of commitment to families, schools and the community by offering support for, and understanding of, parent needs for their students,” the spokesperson said.

“As often the first face students see outside their family each morning, a driver’s friendly and caring attitude offers a warm welcome and can set the tone of a student’s day. 

“We congratulate Colleen and all who make Horton’s an outstanding service. 

“We thank them, particularly for the opportunity our students have to build character and become responsible and considerate members of society, through the high standards that are set for student on Horton’s buses.”

Linda Fogarty, who has worked at Saint Francis de Sales School in Clifton for 30 years, was glowing in her praise.

“Colleen is the go-to person when we have enquiries and her planning is always spot on regarding times of buses,” she said.

“Horton’s have provided wonderful service over many years.”

Clifton State School Principal, Rosita Lever, echoed these comments ,adding that Horton’s were always professional and easy to work with.

The excellent record of Horton’s school bus service comes as a result of highly responsible driving, a safety first attitude to bus maintenance and good planning.

The body that presented Horton’s with the award, the Queensland Bus Industry Council, is the peak representative Industry body for the Bus and Coach Industry in Queensland,
and as such the ‘voice’ of private Bus and Coach Operators in the State.

There is no doubt that driving a school bus with primary school age students and older high school students would at times be a challenging experience requiring a great deal of patience (and possibly ear plugs).

The Clifton district has been very fortunate to have had a school bus service with such a wonderful record of service and Colleen Horton  and her staff deserves the thanks of the whole community.

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