Saturday, November 07, 2015

Joining the walking bus? Fares please!

Back in 2001, realising that my future lay in being a grumpy old man, I wrote  for Spiked about 'walking buses':
A walking bus scheme is where children do not make their own way to school and neither are they driven by their parents. Instead, they are walked to school in a group under the supervision of volunteer adult escorts. Usually there will be an adult ‘driver’ walking at the front of the line and an adult ‘conductor’ at the back - with both adults and children wearing high-visibility jackets. 
Children can join the crocodile only at specified points, and at the end of the school day the ‘bus’ drops them back at the same stops, where they are collected by their parents.
In that article I suggested the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) gudie ‘School Travel Strategies and Plans: A Best Practice Guide for Local Authorities':
makes getting to school sound like a combination of a product launch and the Normandy landings - claiming that ‘by working through strategy discussion, plan objectives, implementation, monitoring and review, [the document] provides a step-by-step guide to successful preparation and delivery’. Just as well the department is offering to fund five days of consultancy if a school wants to develop such a strategy.
Then, in the early days of this blog, I found an advertisement for a "Schools Travel Adviser" when leafing through the jobs in the old Guardian Society supplement.

I asked:
How long will it be before we hear a council say: "We would like our children to walk to school, but it is just too expensive"?
Judging by an article from The Press tweeted by Steve Galloway, the doyen of York Liberals, we have now reached that point:
A group of York mothers have said it is "disappointing" that their children's primary school has started charging for its walking bus service ... 
One of the mums, Emma Power, has two sets of twins. The older set attend the school, and the younger will soon be starting there. The new charge means that when Emma's younger twins start she would have to pay £4 per day, or £20 per week.
At least there is no suggestion that the children have to walk with their hands behind their backs.

1 comment:

crewegwyn said...

£4 per day! You could get a real bus journey for that!