School gets on board walking bus scheme

PUBLISHED: 15:06 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:27 31 May 2010

Pete Hill and County Cllrs Norman Hume and Ray Gooding

Pete Hill and County Cllrs Norman Hume and Ray Gooding

IT WAS bus-iness as usual for Newport youngsters who travelled to school aboard their walking bus - the 100th such scheme to be introduced in Essex. Children at Newport Primary School helped Essex County Council (ECC) to celebrate the success of the walki

IT WAS bus-iness as usual for Newport youngsters who travelled to school aboard their walking bus - the 100th such scheme to be introduced in Essex.

Children at Newport Primary School helped Essex County Council (ECC) to celebrate the success of the walking bus scheme since it was launched two years ago, and to encourage more schools to take part.

Walking bus coordinator at the school Kate Bozianu said: "In November we became the 100th primary school in the county to start a walking bus and it has been a real success. We started off just doing one day a week, but now the bus runs on two days.

"About a fifth of the school - around 30 children - travel on the walking bus and it makes a real difference to the amount of traffic on the roads around the school."

Nearly a quarter of primary schools in Essex have set-up walking buses since the scheme was introduced, involving almost 1600 pupils.

The aim of the walking bus is to encourage parents and children to walk to school rather than travelling by car, creating a safe environment in which to walk and in turn easing congestion outside the school gates.

Cabinet member for highways and transportation at ECC, Cllr Norman Hume, said: "Getting so many schools involved in providing walking busses is an achievement I'm delighted with.

"We now have a hundred of these walking buses providing safer transport to school for pupils across the county and the statistics show these, together with other efforts, are succeeding in making our roads safer for young people.

"I congratulate everyone who's taken part in these schemes across Essex and I would urge any parents, teachers, or children reading this at a school which doesn't have a walking bus to take the initiative and set one up in your school."

The walking bus is just one of a number of road safety initiatives from the county council that has helped to reduce the number of child casualties on Essex's roads from 108 five years ago to 74 in 2007.

Mrs Bozianu said: "The county council has provided training for the volunteers and hi-visibility jackets for all the children. Also because we have two difficult roads to cross, we have been given a collapsible lollipop."

If you have any enquiries about walking buses or would like information about how to set one up, contact the Safer Journeys to School team on 08456 037631 or visit the website www.essexcc.gov.uk/roads and then follow the links to walking bus.

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