Walking School Bus
A walking school bus is just like a school bus except children walk to and from school under the supervision of adult volunteers, making the journey to school safer.
Papatoetoe East's walking school bus is called East Bus. It was started by FOTS in 2010 and is the first and only walking school bus in Papatoetoe. East Bus has operated every week for 5 years thanks to enthusiastic walkers and dedicated adult volunteers.
A small group of school dads and one grandma currently make up our drivers and conductors. They walk with and supervise the children, who are collected from stops along a planned route and dropped off at the school gate. Some of the senior pupils are learner drivers.
In Auckland, over 4,000 children regularly walk on a walking school bus, thus cutting down on traffic around schools. Some children are dropped off by their parents at the WSB so that cuts down on the traffic chaos around the school gate. Some children walk a considerable distance to join the bus. One walks from Hunter's Plaza, another from Old Papatoetoe!
With parental/guardian's consent, walkers receive a WSB ticket which gets clicked every time they walk on the bus. If it's a rainy day, they get 2 clicks! Once they've finished their card, their diligence is rewarded at school assembly with a certificate signed by Mr Gilbert, a bag of WSB goodies, and a brand new ticket.
About 10-15 children take the East Bus every week - even on rainy days! East Bus has been part of Papatoetoe Santa Parades, attended free movie previews, appeared in the Manukau Courier, received visits from Maxx the Pukeko and Wanda the Walking School Bus. In August, we had more than 40 come to our Milo and Muffin morning! Adult volunteers have even had dinner with HW Len Brown, Constable Keith and Police Dog, Sniff.
School communities are concerned about children's safety on our roads, as well as their health and fitness. Many children are not getting enough exercise and obesity is a growing problem. Research shows children love taking part because they find it fun!
Benefits of the Walking School Bus:
- Safer, healthier, more active children
- Practical road safety education for children
- More chances for children and adults to make friends
- Less traffic around schools
- Environmentally friendly, energy efficient transport
- Scheme sponsered by Auckland Transport, no cost to schools or parents
The WSB depends on the availability of the parent volunteers. So, if you'd like the WSB to expand to include afternoons, other days, and other routes, please contact the school office to let us know how you can help.
East Bus assembles at the corner of Cornwall and Kimpton Roads every Thursday at 8.10am. It departs at 8.15am.
To sign up or learn more, please pick up a WSB Guidelines and Consent Form from the school office.