Walking school bus
A walking school bus provides all children with the opportunity to walk to school. Similar to a regular school bus, a walking bus has a predetermined route to pick-up children and drop them off along the way to and from school. A Walking Leader is usually a parent volunteer or multiple volunteers who take different shifts.
If you are interested in starting a walking school bus in your neighbourhood, we suggest starting with a small informal group, for example, contacting your friends and neighbours to coordinate a walking bus route to school. The "bus" doesn't have to be every day either, see what works for you and your fellow parent volunteers.
Starting a Walking School Bus
- Organize a meeting with interested parents and guardians. This can be done through an invitation in a school or PAC newsletter, or even by simply talking to your friends and neighbours.
- At your meeting, discuss route planning, safety concerns, rules and expectations. Emphasize that this is open to all children even if parents can't volunteer themselves. Consider emergency situations and contact lists.
- Determine whether or not you will have a walking school bus wagon for items that can be difficult to carry; such as school projects, instruments or sports equipment.Walk your planned route to get the timing narrowed down for pick-ups and drop-offs.
- Distribute pledge and permission sheets for parents to read and sign.
- Inform the school about the bus. May also wish to inform teachers in case in the beginning children are late and/or so they are aware that they can't hold the child back after school.
- Choose a date to begin and start your walk! Walk times will likely change throughout the first week or so as students and parents adjust to a new routine.
Bicycle trains are set up similar to a walking school bus, but are a faster way to travel if it's a long trip to school. There are additional considerations when organizing a bicycle train as students and volunteers will likely be on the road - different safety and route concerns, equipment and cycling skills. Bike Rodeos are held annually at many Central Okanagan Schools and they help instill good cycling habits in students. It's suggested that bicycle trains are organized for older elementary school students, who have the knowledge and skill set to ride to school confidently.
Regional Traffic Safety Officer
For more detailed information on setting up a Walking School Bus or Bicycle Train, visit HASTe BC's website .