Student transport

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This article is about the logistics of transporting students to and from school. For a discussion on vehicles specifically designed for this purpose, see School bus.

Student transport is the transporting of children and teenagers to and from schools and school events. School transport can be undertaken by school students themselves (on foot, bicycle or perhaps horseback; or for older students, by car), they may be accompanied by family members or caregivers, or the transport may be organised collectively, using buses or taxis.

Transport modes[edit]

General public transport[edit]

Using the general-purpose public transport is the most common mean of student transport in some countries. Sometimes the parents or the students get reimbursed when they buy public transport tickets.

Bus[edit]

Student transport can use specially designed school buseses. Many districts in Canada and the United States use specially built and equipped school buses, painted school bus yellow and equipped with various forms of warning and safety devices specific to them. In other parts of the world, buses used for transporting students tend to be more general-purpose type buses than their North American counterparts.

Car[edit]

Parental transport of students in the family automobile, sometimes termed the "school run", is increasing due to perceived hazards to unaccompanied children. Older students in some countries are able to drive themselves to school.

Cycling and walking[edit]

The Walk to school campaign and 'walking buses' promote the benefits of walking to school.

Safety and student transport modes[edit]

A 1994 report based on Australian road safety statistics[1] found that travelling to school by bus is:

  • 7 times less likely to cause serious injury or death than being driven in a family car,
  • 31 times less likely to cause the same than walking
  • 228 times less likely to cause the same than cycling.

Officials of the National Transportation Safety Board (in the USA) say school buses are safer than cars, even if they are not fitted with seat belts.[2]

Student transport by country[edit]

Argentina[edit]

In Argentina, although most students either walk, are driven by parents, or take regular public transit to school, many of them use private buses carrying an identification and authorization[3] of government in each city. They are usually white and orange and are mostly vans,[4] a change from the times when bigger transit-style buses were used. Parents pay the van owner a monthly fee to carry their children back and forth from school. These vans are not affiliated to the school and usually transport children from different schools in the same route.[clarification needed]

Australia[edit]

In Australia, students who live in outer suburban or rural areas often travel on public buses and trains or on special routes provided by private bus companies. The school services cross-subsidise the regular bus routes. In inner city areas, school students travel on government-owned route service buses. Students travel on either a public route bus, or a "school special" service. Some private schools have their own buses which are often provided by a school where a private company is unwilling or unable to provide the service.

Student transport in Australia

Buses operated by private contractor Busabout Wagga Wagga.
A bus from a high school in Melbourne, Victoria.
New South Wales

In New South Wales, school bus transport is listed as one of the safest forms of land transport, other than train (current figures are represented without seatbelts installed).[5] Students in years K-2 get free travel regardless of where they live, students in years 3-6 get free travel if they live further than 1.6 kilometres (0.99 mi) radial distance or 2.3 kilometres (1.4 mi) by the most direct practical walking distance from the school, and high school students get free travel only if they live more than 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) radial distance or 2.9 kilometres (1.8 mi) by the most direct practical walking distance from school.[6]

The concept of the walking bus was first invented in Australia 1992 by David Engwicht[7]


Canada[edit]

In Canada, student transport is handled in much the same way as it is in the United States: the yellow school bus. Canadian school districts usually engage school bus contractors for student transport services, almost always provided without charge to families. Outside of the metrification of the dashboard instruments and the French-language signage on school buses in the province of Quebec, Canadian and U.S. school buses are largely identical (and are produced by the same manufacturers).

Finland[edit]

In Finland, students who live more than 5 kilometers away from the nearest school, or have other significant impediments to going to the school, are eligible to either bus or Taxi rides.[8] The buses and taxis that are used are normal vehicles, typically operated by local companies. Buses that are reserved solely for school busing have "Koulukyyti/Skolskjuts" markings on front and back. Taxis engaged in student transport have a triangular sign on the roof. Buses engaged in student transport are limited to driving at 80 km/h maximum speed.

Germany[edit]

There're no special school buses in Germany with a few exceptions. Public transport timetables are often adapted to the needs of secondary schools. Some German states offer a reimbursement for public transport tickets.

Hong Kong[edit]

Student transport in Hong Kong

Vehicles used for student transport in Hong Kong are commonly known as "nanny vans".
Main article: Nanny van

In Hong Kong, younger students are transported between their homes and schools by "nanny vans". These vehicles are typically van-based and are smaller than a typical Hong Kong public light bus. When nanny vans originated, they were regulated primarily by the schools and the van drivers. Today, in the interest of safety, nanny vans are government-regulated vehicles that run on fixed routes.


New Zealand[edit]

In New Zealand, student transport is sometimes provided by the New Zealand Ministry of Education through school bus contractors or general bus companies. Bus companies generally have a fleet of older transit buses or coaches, different from the newer public service fleet vehicles to cater for school services. While carrying students are marked by either "SCHOOL", "SCHOOL BUS", "KURA" (Maori for "school"), or pictograms of children in black on a fluorescent chartreuse background, and a limited on the open road to 80 km/h (50 mph) . These signs all indicate that a motorist should slow to 20 km/h (12 mph) when passing a stationary bus in either direction[9][10]

A student is entitled to free school bus transport if they attend the closest state or state integrated school appropriate for the student's year level and gender, and in the case of a state integrated school, the special character the student or parents identifies with. However, students are not entitled to transport if they live within 3.2 km (2.0 mi) of the school for primary school students (ages 5–12) or within 4.8 km (3.0 mi) of the school for secondary school students (ages 13–18). Students are also not eligible if there are suitable public transport services between the school and the student's residence, ruling out free transport in most cities.[11]

Free school busing is a fast-diminishing phenomenon in New Zealand. It has historically favored rural students. As population migration trends internal to New Zealand have favored the growth of cities, it is an increasingly smaller minority of students who are served by school buses. Parents, acting as chauffeurs, are filling this gap, with multiple negative consequences (e.g., productivity losses for the New Zealand workforce, increased vehicular traffic interfering with commercial or industrial traffic well into the work-day, increased carbon footprint, diminished development of transport self-management skills in early teenagers, dangerous concentrations of hectic motoring near congested school entrances at school start-times, etc.). The matter occasionally surfaces in the New Zealand media, but making free school busing the norm is usually dismissed as another example of American-style thinking.

In Auckland, New Zealand, as at November 2007, one hundred schools were running 230 walking buses with over 4,000 children and 1,500 adults participating.[12]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, most student transport is performed by ordinary transit buses. These buses can be used for other purposes when not in use for school journeys. Most children use local scheduled public transport bus services. In almost all cases, dedicated school transport bus services in the UK are contracted out to local bus companies.

London

In Greater London, many school children travel to school using the ordinary bus service as the bus stops are very close together and travel is free using the Oyster card system.

Switch to dedicated school buses[edit]

See also: First Student UK and My bus

Student transport in the UK

A yellow painted UK Double Decker School Bus, usually these are operated for school routes only.
A normal UK Double Decker Bus, These are operated for everyday use as well as school routes.

In the United Kingdom, there are concerns about children's safety after they have alighted from conventional buses used for student transport.[13][14] There are also more general worries about safety, such as lack of seatbelts, crowded buses, and in Northern Ireland especially, the use of "three for two" seating, where three children are expected to sit on a bench seat intended for two passengers.[15]

Other concerns include poorly maintained buses, drivers' backgrounds, children travelling on public buses and school children's behaviour. In one case, two 14 and 15 year old children fell out of a bus window, after they leaned on the side of the Premiere Travel bus they were travelling on.[16]

As a result of this, over the past decade, starting in around 2000,[17] the talk of and introduction of dedicated, yellow student-specific school buses has been widespread. In 2005, it was reported that the introduction of such buses would "save pupils". As well as safety benefits,[18] it would also be better to the environment.[19]

North American-style 'yellow' school buses (built by European manufacturers) are being introduced by First Student UK and My bus.

Walking[edit]

The Walk to school campaign is a British campaign promoting the benefits of walking to school. It is run by the charities Living Streets and Travelwise. It receives funding from the Department for Transport and Transport for London.

Walking buses have remained popular. The first walking bus in the United Kingdom was introduced in 1998 by Hertfordshire County Council and used by students of Wheatfields Junior School in St Albans in 1998 [20]

United States of America[edit]

A late 2000s Blue Bird Vision
A typical school bus in USA: specifically designed for students and painted yellow.

In the United States, purpose-built school buses are the primary means of student transport, almost always provided without charge to families. In the US, the term, "busing" is also used to refer to desegregation busing, the transport of students to schools other than the closest local school for increased racial integration.

Each year, school buses provide an estimated 10 billion student trips in the United States. Every school day, 475,000 school buses transport 25 million children to and from schools and school-related activities.[21] School buses are purchased or leased by some school districts, while other school districts engage the service of school bus contractors to perform this function. Approximately 40% of school districts in the United States use contractors to handle the function of student transport.

However, the use of standard public transit buses is increasingly common in urban areas. For example, New York City provides yellow school bus service to select students based on grade level and their distance from the school, but relies on the public New York City Transit bus system to transport students in grades 7-12 and younger students where dedicated school bus service is unavailable. Free or half-price transit passes are provided by the school system for this purpose.[22] Some public transit services may provide "tripper service" with routes designed to serve local schools. Such routes are regularly scheduled transit routes that are open to the public and, by law, cannot be used exclusively for school transportation, but are drawn to connect local schools to nearby communities and transit centers.[23]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ D Hasler, University of New South Wales, quoted on RACV website, viewed 2013-09-12; available archived as 'RACV - bus safety' on the archive.is website, viewed 2013-10-30.
  2. ^ Dr Kristin Poland of NTSB, quoted at a hearing into a fatal 2012 bus crash at Chesterfield, Missouri, in "Buses safer than cars", Circular, Bus and Coach Association of New Zealand, August 2013.
  3. ^ "Buenos Aires Ciudad — Planeamiento y Obras Públicas". Buenosaires.gov.ar. Retrieved 2012-10-29. 
  4. ^ http://corrientes.in/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/transporte_escolar.jpg
  5. ^ "Road Traffic Accidents in NSW–2000 - Statistical Statement: Year Ended 31 December 2000". Roads and Traffic Authority. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  6. ^ School Student Transport Scheme: Eligibility Requirements. NSW Government Transport & Infrastructure (updated January 19, 2010). Retrieved 2010-04-26
  7. ^ David Engwicht. "Is the Walking Bus stalled?". Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  8. ^ Perusopetuslaki 32 §
  9. ^ Speed limits on NZTA official New Zealand Road Code website, retrieved 2010-11-14
  10. ^ See this article on an instance of Maori bus sign usage in Rotorua: Principal remains adamant over 'kura' bus signs on Rotorua Daily Post website, retrieved 2010-11-14
  11. ^ Transport Entitlement Zones on New Zealand Ministry of Education website, retrieved 2010-05-13
  12. ^ Auckland Regional Transport Authority School Travel Evaluation for the 2007 school year
  13. ^ "School bus safety bill goes to PM". BBC News. 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  14. ^ "Commons debates school bus safety". BBC News. 2009-07-02. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  15. ^ "School bus safety to be improved". BBC News. 2006-09-05. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  16. ^ "Two fall out of school bus window". BBC News. 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  17. ^ "UK may get yellow school buses". BBC News. 2000-06-13. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  18. ^ "Yellow school buses — a US icon". BBC News. 2005-06-16. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  19. ^ "Yellow buses 'would save pupils'". BBC News. 2005-06-15. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  20. ^ BBC News Article
  21. ^ "School Bus Facts". National Association for Pupil Transportation. July 10, 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-06. 
  22. ^ New York City Department of Education. "General Education Eligibility". Pupil Transportation. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  23. ^ Federal Transit Administration. "School Bus". FY 2010 Triennial Review Workshop Workbook. Retrieved 15 December 2010.