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Walking School Bus

Old 10-19-16, 04:31 AM
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Walking School Bus

Do you have a Walking School Bus in your area?


This, if you can read it, is a "bus stop". It's a Walking School Bus.





If you've never heard of a Walking School Bus, this page talks about it:
City of Hobart | Walking Bus


This is another article that talks about Walking School Buses:
Walking School Bus
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Old 10-19-16, 04:38 AM
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Coincidently, the New York Times has a front-page article on this sort of phenomenon:

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/23/ma...kids-play.html
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Old 10-19-16, 11:23 PM
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It's an interesting concept, but I'm not sure I get it. If the school is within walking distance, why can't the kids just walk there?

Part of my confusion may be because I grew up in a community where walking to school from as far as 2 miles or so was the norm, with free bus transport only offered to those more distant. I can honestly say that I walked more than a mile to school daily regardless of weather, including the cold and snow typical of a New York winter. That was from when I was 5 until I left for high school which was farther and to which I took city buses for a year then started bicycling.

So, I've never understood why the notion of children being out alone or in small groups with a few friends between home and school seems odd to so many. I also don't understand why people think we need any motor transport for to for those living within a mile or so (1/2 hour walk) from school.
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Old 10-19-16, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
It's an interesting concept, but I'm not sure I get it. If the school is within walking distance, why can't the kids just walk there?
They can ... it's just that in this day and age parents feel uncomfortable with the idea of sending their kids out alone.

My brother and I used to walk some considerable distances to school (especially for our age) on our own ... but apparently kids can't do that anymore. Or rather, parents don't feel comfortable letting kids do that anymore.

At least the walking school bus gets the kids walking rather than being driven to school.
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Old 10-19-16, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
They can ... it's just that in this day and age parents feel uncomfortable with the idea of sending their kids out alone.
I gathered that but surprised to hear that from a city like Hobart.

But I agree that it's a far better alternative than motor transport, not for environmental reasons, but because it's better for the kids mentally as well as physically. With any luck, it will establish a pattern, and with the route laid out and others using it, parents will grt up the courage to let the kids do it on their own from time to time, or next year.
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Old 10-19-16, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I gathered that but surprised to hear that from a city like Hobart.

But I agree that it's a far better alternative than motor transport, not for environmental reasons, but because it's better for the kids mentally as well as physically. With any luck, it will establish a pattern, and with the route laid out and others using it, parents will grt up the courage to let the kids do it on their own from time to time, or next year.
It is a phenomenon that's everywhere now.

We live near a school and I've been a bit surprised by the number of parents who drive their kids to school or have to walk with them ... even when the kids look to be 9 or 10 years old.
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Old 10-20-16, 08:22 PM
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I'll just clarify ...

These walking school buses involve walking. There is no bus, no motorised transportation.

To quote this page: City of Hobart | Walking Bus

A Walking Bus encourages children to walk in a group to school, with an adult driver in the front and an adult conductor' at the rear. The 'bus' travels along a set route to school, picking up children along the way at designated 'bus stops'. 'Bus stops' can be meeting points along the route or each child's front gate.


It is a way for children to walk to school ... and for parents to feel more secure about their children walking to school. Based on where the "bus stops" are located, the walk is a decent length too, so kids do get a chance to get used to walking places.
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Old 10-20-16, 08:39 PM
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I get the concept, and though I don't get why parents are so afraid to let kids walk (or bike) to school, I know it's something real.

So, its the kernel of a good idea, and could probably be expanded to include those children beyond normal walking range. They could off the option of having the regular bus drop kids off at the start of the walking bus. This expands the program ot include anyone who wants, plus increases the density of walking children along the route, which could encourage more to join.

On one of my commute routes I pass a school, and am staggered by the congestion as parents jockey for position to drop their kids off as close as possible. One side of the school is the main through street, and gets seriously backed up twice a day. I wonder if the children aren't maybe put at greater risk because of the congestion.

If I were King, I'd create a no stopping zone that extended 2 blocks in all directions, to allow the children to fan out and reduce the congestion at the school entrances. Plus the short walk couldnt do them any harm.

As I said before, I think that conditioning children to consider distances of a mile or so to be within walking range is the best way to produce adults that think so too.
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Old 10-20-16, 09:01 PM
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I think sometimes we over complicate things. Instead of a new "walking bus program".... Maybe we only need to cancel bus rides for those kids who live within walking distance from the school.

I understand there are some people... that don't believe that parents are qualified to raise children. But I would normally expect those people to be called.... grandparents.

Kids may have started getting fat and lazy in America first. But this is now a global trend. The world has become a tiny place in many ways. And the world just keeps getting smaller. Only the poorest of nations still have populations forced to work hard for even just basic needs.

Can modern people enjoy... or even be willing to make time for.... the exercise needed for a healthy body? To keep my heart and lungs healthy.... I believe current science tells me I need to get 90 minutes to 2 hours of Cardiovascular/aerobic exercise per week. Thank God I love cycling. Because no way in hell would I ever exercise that much. But when I count in my cycling fun/hobby.... I seem to be well over my needed exercise time.

But I do tend to fall short of any reasonable time spent on weight training. I keep trying different winter sports for exercise... I haven't found a keeper yet. This winter I plan on trying a gym.

As soon as a small child is found naked and lifeless in a woods near a walking bus stop.... parents will have those kids back on the busses. And no solution will have been found for the many hours of activity a human body needs to be fit.

Meanwhile.... I wonder why dead bodies are always found by walkers and joggers.

Last edited by Dave Cutter; 10-20-16 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 10-20-16, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
I think sometimes we over complicate things. Instead of a new "walking bus program".... Maybe we only need to cancel bus rides for those kids who live within walking distance from the school.....

.
I don't know about elsewhere, but here in the NYC area school buses are only provided for children living beyond a certain range. That doesn't mean kids walk because, as seems to also be true in Tasmania, too many parent's aren't willing to let their kids walk alone, and drive them to school instead.

So if a similar program were implemented here, it wouldn't affect kids currently taking the bus. It would only affect those living close by and whose parents drive them.

BTW - there are also some subtle and not so subtle pressures on parents about walking or biking to school. Some time back here on BF we had someone with a child custody dispute being accused of being unfit because he committed the sin of riding to school by bike with his young daughter.

I saw this close to home when my friends daughter turned 15 and mom allowed her to bike to after school activities, and later to school unescorted. Mom got no end of criticism from other moms, and I suffered 2nd hand worry because I knew that if anything happened, not only would Naomi not get emotional support, she's be made to feel more guilty for her callous disregard for her daughter's welfare.

So, I support any effort to offer guilt free alternatives to parents now driving kids to school.
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Old 10-20-16, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
..... too many parent's aren't willing to let their kids walk alone, and drive them to school instead.
If you're those parents Dad (the children's Grandfather)... you should speak-up over Sunday dinner. Otherwise... it isn't any of your business.

Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
..... BTW - there are also some subtle and not so subtle pressures on parents about walking or biking to school.
Who cares? There are many pressures on people from all directions for many things.... life goes on.

Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
..... ... I support any effort to offer guilt free alternatives to parents now driving kids to school.
Guilt free? In other words.... you think cycling for children... might be criminal? I am sure in some areas... children maybe should never be allowed to roam unsupervised. But that isn't up to me... it is to be determined by their parents.

Wars and strife have always created cities that were unfit to live in. Maybe... society's involvement in regulating mutual living environments... have created neighborhoods that are unfit for children. And that is a damn shame.... but it also has nothing to do with cycling, or LCF.
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Old 10-20-16, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
If you're those parents Dad (the children's Grandfather)... you should speak-up over Sunday dinner. Otherwise... it isn't any of your business.



Who cares? There are many pressures on people from all directions for many things.... life goes on.

.... but it also has nothing to do with cycling, or LCF.
No problem.

1- if it were my family, it wouldn't come up
2- I never involve myself in anybody's personal issues, except if they ask my opinion, and then usually only to support decisions they make on their own.
3- parental paranoia is a real thing, and I care about it as a societal problem, not one related to individual cases

I do consider it an LCF issue, since kids that grow up less dependent on cars are more likely to continue that way as adults. But that's just my opinion, and you're entitled to your own. After this is supposed to be a forum where we can freely and openly discuss this sort of thing.
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Old 10-20-16, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
..... I never involve myself in anybody's personal issues,......
...... parental paranoia is a real thing, and I care about it as a societal problem, not one related to individual cases
Actually... paranoia is a mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance. It should be treated by qualified healthcare professionals. Just... IMHO.

Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
..... I do consider it an LCF issue, since kids that grow up less dependent on cars are more likely to continue that way as adults.
Yeah... and those same kids could grow up healthy, strong, and similar to... and with strong relationships to their parents. Either way... it is their parents decision.

Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
..... But that's just my opinion, and you're entitled to your own. After this is supposed to be a forum where we can freely and openly discuss this sort of thing.
Yes. I agree completely! This is a great place to discuss new ideas to enjoy and promote cycling with the objective of living free of cars... to the extent that is possible in modern society.

But I am careful about what I post on the Internet. And I wouldn't want anyone to mistake my (or anyone's) interest in LCF to be associated with some sort of [Hitler-Youth-type] required activity that is well meant... as a means to benefit the motherland.

These are children we are posting about here! And the best people to make decisions for them, or on their behalf, are the people who love them most... their parents.
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Old 10-20-16, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
Yeah... and those same kids could grow up healthy, strong, and similar to... and with strong relationships to their parents. Either way... it is their parents decision.

These are children we are posting about here! And the best people to make decisions for them, or on their behalf, are the people who love them most... their parents.
Maybe you missed the part where the "walking bus" was optional. Nobody is mandating anything. It's simply another option for those parents who think its a good thing.
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Old 10-20-16, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Maybe you missed the part where the "walking bus" was optional.
Or.. maybe you missed my first post. Which is odd... since you quoted it.
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Old 10-20-16, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
Or.. maybe you missed my first post. Which is odd... since you quoted it.
My memory operates on the sponge theory --- new information pushes out old --- and I was responding to the later posts that emphasized that child rearing choices were a parental issue.

So I thought you must have believed that I or someone else was stepping on that.
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Old 10-20-16, 11:31 PM
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Well yeah. This isn't a LCF issue. Although I do recognize the possibility of children's commutes to schools as an advocacy opportunity. But once you start suggesting "community solutions" to the way parents raise children... that crosses a invisible line.

I know your intentions are well meant. Even though I think (IMHO) misguided... if they aren't YOUR children.

But... as hit on in my original post. Walking to school ain't going to be enough. The human body requires a LOT of real activity. Modern society... which has all but eliminated most the activity required of human bodies in everyday life... is a relatively recent event.

That fact that parents no longer push their kids out the door... and tell them not to be late for school. THAT may be a sign of the real issue. But that would be a family issue.... not an issue to be resolved by neighbors, schools, busybodies, or someone wanting to have mandated time with the children.
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Old 10-20-16, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
....

I know your intentions are well meant. Even though I think (IMHO) misguided... .
I've posted what I thought, you've posted responses to that, and I've responded.

It is what it is, I don't think I have anything to add, so I'm happy to leave with you having the last word and letting readers draw whatever conclusions they will.
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Old 10-21-16, 12:42 AM
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Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.


This is a Living Car Free or Living Car Light related topic. It is one example of how families could incorporate more human powered transportation into their everyday lives.

Rather than driving kids to school in 101 individual cars (as I've observed the parents at the school near where I live do), this walking school bus idea encourages parents to let their kids walk to school.

Personally I think it is a great idea. Get the kids walking rather than depending on a motor vehicle to get wherever they want to go.

As it happens, the distance between that particular "bus stop" and the school is 1.2 km. For adults, that's quite a short distance to walk, but for primary school children it is a bit of a walk. Definitely a good start.


And the whole thing is voluntary ... including the parents/guardians who "drive" the buses.

As the article says,

"The bus can go as seldom or as often as volunteers want to drive it and parents and children want to use it. The service is free. Every child is welcome to join the bus, even if their parents aren't able to be drivers."


Have a look at the articles.
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Old 10-21-16, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
It's an interesting concept, but I'm not sure I get it. If the school is within walking distance, why can't the kids just walk there?

Part of my confusion may be because I grew up in a community where walking to school from as far as 2 miles or so was the norm, with free bus transport only offered to those more distant. I can honestly say that I walked more than a mile to school daily regardless of weather, including the cold and snow typical of a New York winter. That was from when I was 5 until I left for high school which was farther and to which I took city buses for a year then started bicycling.

So, I've never understood why the notion of children being out alone or in small groups with a few friends between home and school seems odd to so many. I also don't understand why people think we need any motor transport for to for those living within a mile or so (1/2 hour walk) from school.
This is a big thing these days. Probably due to the constant barrage of sensationalized "news", many young parents are convinced that it's dangerous to let kids walk to school. They think a child molester will jump out of the bushes and snatch their kid. It's kind of ironic to us older folks, since we had a great deal of autonomy back in our childhood days--when the violent crime rate was actually much higher than it is now.
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Old 10-21-16, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
This is a big thing these days. Probably due to the constant barrage of sensationalized "news", many young parents are convinced that it's dangerous to let kids walk to school. They think a child molester will jump out of the bushes and snatch their kid. It's kind of ironic to us older folks, since we had a great deal of autonomy back in our childhood days--when the violent crime rate was actually much higher than it is now.
Yeah, unfortunately ...


However, things like these walking school buses at least provide a situation where parents can let go a little bit (unless they volunteer to be a "driver") and where their kids can walk like we did.
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Old 10-21-16, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.


This is a Living Car Free or Living Car Light related topic. It is one example of how families could incorporate more human powered transportation into their everyday lives.

Rather than driving kids to school in 101 individual cars (as I've observed the parents at the school near where I live do), this walking school bus idea encourages parents to let their kids walk to school.

Personally I think it is a great idea. Get the kids walking rather than depending on a motor vehicle to get wherever they want to go.

As it happens, the distance between that particular "bus stop" and the school is 1.2 km. For adults, that's quite a short distance to walk, but for primary school children it is a bit of a walk. Definitely a good start.


And the whole thing is voluntary ... including the parents/guardians who "drive" the buses.

As the article says,

"The bus can go as seldom or as often as volunteers want to drive it and parents and children want to use it. The service is free. Every child is welcome to join the bus, even if their parents aren't able to be drivers."


Have a look at the articles.
I agree and would add that it's an LCF issue for another reason. We've had plenty of posts here from people wondering how they could incorporate carfree living in a family that includes young children. This is very important to parents, of course. And these walking school buses could help them to bridge the gap that's preventing them from being good carfree parents. Just telling parents to push their kids out the door isn't very helpful. Giving them ideas and resources for carfree parenting might be more useful.

BTW, I think you asked about the walking buses in other communities. We don't have them fulltime here in Lansing. But we do have tghem in conjunction with the "Smart Commute" acrtivities (formerly called Bike to Work) once a year. I have no idea about how useful they've been.

My own grandson, who lives with me and his parents, has been driven to school most of his life. When he was younger, I used to walk to school to pick him up once in a while. That was fun for both of us, but his mother wouldn't let him walk or bike alone to school, even in high schoo.l Now that he's a senior, he rode his bike a few times and walks with friends once in a while. The only times he walks alone is when he meets me downtown at our favorite coffee shop, about a mile from his school, then walks home with me. I didn't tell his mother we did this the first few times because I was worried that she would be upset about him walking that mile alone. This started when he was in eighth grade. By the time I was in eighth grade, I was taking the city bus alone to downtown Detroit, or even hitchhiking!
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Old 10-21-16, 08:10 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
... However, things like these walking school buses at least provide a situation where parents can let go a little bit (unless they volunteer to be a "driver") and where their kids can walk like we did.
It is much more likely.... that after the dead child's body is found in the ditch.... DNA evidence will expose one of the parents/volunteers as the killer... and previously convicted child molester.

Nothing good ever comes from these community projects. People think these are somehow new ideas. Because people chose to forget the results from... back in the day when these mistakes were first made.

It doesn't take a village to raise a child. It takes a village... for a pedophile to hide in.

There is nothing wrong with any idea... on face value. But experimental ideas.... with other people's children as the lab rats?!?!?

Last edited by Dave Cutter; 10-21-16 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 10-21-16, 09:07 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
I agree and would add that it's an LCF issue for another reason. We've had plenty of posts here from people wondering how they could incorporate carfree living in a family that includes young children. This is very important to parents, of course. And these walking school buses could help them to bridge the gap that's preventing them from being good carfree parents. Just telling parents to push their kids out the door isn't very helpful. Giving them ideas and resources for carfree parenting might be more useful.
Exactly right!

And according to the Hobart article, these walking school buses have been in use since 2004 here ... so they've been in action for 12 years now.
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Old 10-21-16, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I agree that it's a far better alternative than motor transport, not for environmental reasons, but because it's better for the kids mentally as well as physically. With any luck, it will establish a pattern, and with the route laid out and others using it, parents will grt up the courage to let the kids do it on their own from time to time, or next year.
It's better for the environment as well. I live opposite two schools and there's not just a lot of dropping off, and picking up, there is a lot of idling too. Basically it's a lot of wasted combustion and unecessary emissions.
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