It also seems that if the government insists on having a flexible policy in terms of where children attend school, it should also have a more flexible policy in terms of the mandatory walking distances from the school and more and better bus service that is funded by the school should be available, especially at the primary level. It should not be left up to private bus companies to pick up the slack of schools that do not provide their own bus services. It should become more like a North American standard, where the school and school board provide a bus service that picks children up every morning at various stops within the school district.
At the secondary level, there should be some sort of subsidization of bus fares for children who live a certain distance away from the school and who wish to travel independently. If the school offered reduced monthly bus passes, or even passes that only worked during the week at reduced rates for students, perhaps this would increase the number of children who took the bus every day. However as stated in the action plan, the main concern in terms of how children travel to school is in the sharp decrease in the number of children walking and cycling to school.
Incentives such as a school funded cycle sale every year, where parents could sell their children’s old bicycles and purchase used bicycles off other parents would maybe encourage higher bicycle ownership and maybe local cycle shops could even offer cycles and service at a discount to students to encourage an increase in the number of children cycling to school. The congested roads that are seen as a daily occurence throughout the United Kingdom are a problem that far outreaches the effects of the school run.
Although reducing the number of cars involved on the school run may reduce congestion slightly, it is a small step and it seems to be ignoring the bigger problem of being able to reduce congestion in the long term. As stated before it is believed that parents who drive their children to school often continue on to work and also many parents drop off more than one child, this is a more economical and environmentally friendly way of travel than a single person in a single car making one trip.
Land Use Planning and the Environment
Recommendations on Travelling to school: an action plan