18 May 2015
This morning the Minister for Transport and Technical Services (TTS) found out from students at Bel Royal School what it’s like to be part of a ‘walking bus’.
A ‘walking bus’ is a group of people, normally young school children, who join together on their route to and from school. The ‘walking bus’ for Bel Royal School takes place daily with around 20 students participating. The route commences at Mont Felard Estate taking students passed recent road improvements undertaken at Rue de Haut, which has made it an easier route for pedestrians.
School Travel Plans
The scheme was delivered by TTS last month, and supports the School’s Travel Plan targets of improving safety for children and families in the area, increasing independent travel for pupils in preparation for secondary school, and encouraging active travel particularly walking.
The Minister for Transport and Technical Services, Deputy Eddie Noel, said: “It was a fantastic start to the morning joining Bel Royal School’s walking bus. Our Department is always looking for solutions to barriers that may restrict active travel. The widened pavement along Rue de Haut not only facilitates more walking to school, it is also better for pupils with disabilities, and improves pedestrian access for parents with prams. It is also of great benefit to people living at Stuart Court Residential Home.”
Ania Deichsel, TTS Transport Awareness added: “Many children in Jersey live close enough to their school to be able to walk. For young children, walking to school with their parents is an excellent opportunity to learn road safety skills and awareness. Children who walk to school with parents and friends build up their pedestrian skills over time so that when they start making journeys alone they are better prepared for coping with traffic. Getting children into the habit of walking is an excellent way to encourage lifelong healthy habits, and to reduce car-dependency.
“It is natural for small groups of parents and children to walk and talk together as their routes converge. Quite often parents take it in turns to accompany each other’s children to or from school. A handful of schools in Jersey, including Bel Royal School, have developed this idea into a regular, formal arrangement called a ‘walking bus’. The Walking Bus is made up of a group of children and two adult operators, who act as a ‘driver’ and a ‘conductor’. The bus walks along a set route collecting children at ‘bus stops’ on the way at set times. The participants usually wear high visibility tabards, for safety, as well as to publicise the pro-walking message making traffic more aware of their presence and shared space. If you are interested in starting a walking bus at your school, get in touch.”
Since the travel plan was introduced at Bel Royal School, the pupils have won the best increase in walking award in last year’s Green Travel Fortnight. The Fortnight will be taking place again this year from 5-16 October.