TransLink partners with cities to create "walking school bus" program

Mar 1 2022, 11:30 pm

Instead of arriving to school by the yellow school bus, students at eight elementary schools in the City of Vancouver and City of North Vancouver are being provided with the option to walk to school in groups, called the “Walking School Bus” program.

The initiative is supported by TransLink, in partnership with both municipal governments and the Dedicated Action for School Health (DASH), to encourage more students to walk to and from school. The provincial government is also providing supplemental funding.

The goal of the new program is intended to help lower air pollution and reduce congestion near schools by encouraging the active transportation mode of walking.

“When children are encouraged at an early age to take part in active transportation they’re more likely to continue choosing greener ways of moving around as they grow up,” said Kevin Quinn, CEO of TransLink, in a statement.

“I’m proud that this initiative will foster healthier lifestyles, reduce congestion, lower air pollution, and create long-lasting friendships in our communities.”

Under the program, groups of students from the same school walk together under the supervision of designated leaders. The groups walk along predetermined routes each school day, with planned stops to pick up or drop off kids, just like a conventional school bus. DASH is organizing the program and operates it with the help of families, volunteers, and schools.

The participating Vancouver schools include Cunningham, Lord Selkirk Annex, and Trafalgar, while the participating North Vancouver schools include Larson, Queen Mary, Ridgeway, Westview, and Queensbury.

“I am excited to see new possibilities for active modes of transportation available to Vancouver students and families,” said Janet Fraser, the board chair of Vancouver School Board.

“The Walking School Bus Pilot Program allows students to develop a better understanding of their local neighbourhoods and build confidence through walking with their classmates and leaders. As a Board, we continue to support active and sustainable transportation choices for school communities and thank all volunteers taking part in this program.”

The program is currently being conducted as a pilot program. If it is deemed to be a success, it could be expanded to other schools and school districts in the future.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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