Pupils, schools encouraged to use walking school bus

Braving the cold . . . Setting off on the walking school bus are (from left, front) Julia Hodgson (7), Penelope Hodgson (5) and Ava Scott (5), (middle) Jen Hodgson, Eddie Panting (7), Henry Hodgson (9) and Leo Cornelius (8) and (back) Richard Panting. PHOTO: ELLA STOKES

All aboard the walking school bus.

One Dunedin school is encouraging its pupils to trade wheels for shoes.

The walking school bus at Kaikorai Primary School has been running for more than 15 years.

School principal Simon Clarke said he would encourage more pupils to get involved and recommended other schools do the same.

The bus goes rain or shine, and Mr Clarke said it gave the pupils independence and a chance to socialise and get some fresh air before a day at school.

It helped improve safety around the school at drop-off time as there were fewer cars on the road.

Mr Clarke said it was a great initiative that had “no downside”.

Richard Panting is one of the nine volunteers who help run the walking bus.

“It’s a great way to know your children are getting to school safely.”

He had been involved for three years and passenger numbers had decreased in that time.

“It would be good to see more people get involved with something like this, and other schools could follow the same initiative.”