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MORE YELLOW BUSES TO TAKE TO THE ROAD

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A further 60 yellow school buses will be taking to the road later...
A further 60 yellow school buses will be taking to the road later

this year following approval today of the second phase

of funding for the 'My Bus' project by transport secretary Alistair

Darling.

This latest phase of funding worth£7.3m will enable the

scheme to be rolled out to over 100 primary and secondary schools

across West Yorkshire. Over 1,000 pupils in the area already use

yellow buses, which has resulted in a major reduction in school gate

congestion and car use. This money follows the£3.9m given to

launch the scheme last year.

Mr Darling said:

'It is important that we explore new options for reducing congestion

on the school run. At ten to nine in the morning around one in five

cars on the road is on the school run and we are all aware of the

extra congestion this causes in the rush hour. These new buses will

provide a real alternative for children travelling to and from

schools across West Yorkshire and will make the distinctive yellow

school buses an increasingly common, and welcome site on the road.

'The first phase of this project has proved successful in reducing

traffic on the school run resulting in environmental and safety

benefits. Fewer cars on the road means less congestion and, in

particular, fewer vehicles near schools reduces the risk of

accidents. The buses are also an excellent way for children to

interact and learn about public transport.

'We will be watching the success of this scheme and I hope that other

areas will consider the merits of yellow buses and the real benefits

that well-planned schemes can bring.'

Early figures from the first phase show that the average drop in car

use has been over 60 per cent, with one school in Brighouse showing a

drop as high as 91 per cent. A primary school in Bradford has

reported a 30 per cent reduction in cars outside the school gate and

of those pupils now using the yellow bus, over 60 per cent previously

travelled by car.

The My Bus scheme, operated by Metro, the West Yorkshire Passenger

Transport Executive, aims to serve around 300 schools in a three-year

phased project costing a total of£18.7m. By the end of

February they will have introduced 11 brand new custom-built buses

and they will be carrying total of 1,100 West Yorkshire children to

and from school each day.

Notes

1. The high visibility yellow buses are single deck and fully

accessible. Each pupil has their own high-backed padded seat with a

seatbelt. The vehicles are fully accredited by the Belt Up School

Kids (BUSK) campaign. Each bus has on board CCTV and is driven by a

dedicated driver.

2. The funding also covers the cost of a telephone hotline service

which parents can use to relay messages to the driver. Drivers have a

register of all pupils who travel on the bus - parents call the

hotline if their child is going to be absent from school, and drivers

call the hotline if a registered child is not at their usual pick-up

point.

3. The Department for Transport announced in December 2003 that as

part ofthe 2004-5 LTP settlement the West Yorkshire Education

Transport Scheme (Mybus) would receive£18.7m of funding. The funds

were to be released in 3 stages, the last two being conditional on

the promoters satisfying the Department that the scheme was likely to

meet its objectives. The£7.3m announced today is the second of the

three stage payments.

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