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West Yorkshire school bus network, Mybus, could provide much of the
UK with a model for primary, secondary and special educational
needs school travel.
This is the conclusion of a report to
West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority's members that marks
the end of the project's four-year development stage.
Metro has implemented the scheme
through a four-year, £18.7m Department of Transport funding
(DfT) award secured on the basis of successful scheme pilots.
Mybus now provides high-quality
home-to-school transport on purpose-built yellow buses for over
9,000 pupils at 78 of the county's primary schools, 52 of its
secondary schools and two Special Educational Needs schools.
Metro's report, which marks the end of
the DfT development funding sets out Mybus's substantial
achievements, explains how its benefits can be extended in West
Yorkshire, and how similar schemes could be rolled out in other
parts of the UK.
Mode shift from car to bus, it says ,
has been dramatic with 64% of the scheme's primary school users and
15% of its secondary school users having formally travelled to
school by car. This represents two million car kilometres removed
from the county's road network each year and an environmental
saving of over 300 tonnes of carbon.
"This report shows that Mybus has been
a major success and has had a significant impact both on traffic levels in West Yorkshire, and the
lives of the pupils parents and teachers involved with the scheme,"
said Metro Chairman Councillor Chris Greaves.
"It also makes clear that Mybus has
been successful because it is a comprehensive scheme developed in
partnership with schools, education authorities and bus operators,
which has involved establishing its own dedicated call centre and
clear consultation with parents and pupils.
"Dedicated drivers, CCTV on the buses,
seatbelts for all pupils and fun elements such as CD players on the
buses have all contributed to the scheme's success," he continued.
"It is certainly about a lot more than simply painting buses yellow
or introducing converted vehicles from the US.
"Mybus has also had a positive impact
on the bus industry attracting new drivers and enabling operators
to retain drivers who would otherwise be considering retirement,"
continued Councillor Greaves.
"And the reduced numbers of cars
taking part in the school run is providing the environmental
benefit of cleaner air and improved road safety at school
Metro's report comes at a time when
the National Yellow Bus Commission, whose members including chair
David Blunkett visited the Mybus scheme in January 2008, is due to
report on its findings.
"We have worked closely with the
Commission and illustrated to them that when correctly planned to
provide a local home-to-school network, the Mybus model can provide
a broad range of benefits at primary, special educational needs and
secondary schools," added Councillor Greaves.
"As the Report states, having reached
the end of Mybus's four-year development phase, Metro is now
looking at how it takes the scheme forward," he continued.
"We have already started maximising
the use of some Mybus vehicles by employing them for journeys
during the school day such as swimming lesons and field trips and
for MetroLocal services which provide a hail-and-ride bus links for
"We are also looking at how we can
introduce some of the features of Mybus into other, regular
home-to-school transport services.
Download the Report's Executive
Summary (pdf, 63k) or Mybus Case Studies (pdf 108k).