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Tuesday, 29 October, 2002, 16:08 GMT
Yellow buses fleet set to double
Yellow bus
Ten American-style buses run in Wrexham
A scheme using American-style school buses to improve truancy levels and provide safer journey's for pupils in Wrexham is set to expand.

Under the pilot project, 10 yellow vehicles have been transporting more than 1,000 children to eight Wrexham schools and Yale sixth form college.


You have the same driver on the buses all the time so you get to recognise them and you recognise your bus coming to you

Sarah Williams, sixth form pupil

The coach operators First claim initial reports indicate that absenteeism has been reduced as a direct result of the scheme which has been operating since June.

The company now plans to double its fleet to expand the initiative to other schools in Britian.

So far, they are operated in three areas of the UK with Wrexham benefiting from the largest fleet.

The buses have been introduced to give priority to the safety of children.

Yellow bus projects
Halifax
Surrey
Wrexham

All coaches are fitted with seatbelts and have CCTV cameras to keep an eye on youngsters.

The same driver is used every day so they get to know pupils and the bus carriages are higher than normal to protect pupils from side impacts.

The company also plans to introduce registers on board to determine who is absent.

The information can then be passed on to teachers.

Pupils at Yale use the buses
Pupils at Yale use the buses

Sarah Williams uses the bright buses to get to-and-from Yale College everyday.

She said she feels safer using the transport.

"You have the same driver on the buses all the time so you get to recognise them and you recognise your bus coming to you," she said.

"Other drivers can recognise that they are proper school buses and be careful of children getting off them.

"The drivers look out for people that shouldn't be on there too."

Children's reaction

Carol Hewitt is one of the regular yellow bus drivers in Wrexham.

She said the buses have had a positive effect on the children using them.

"I actually brought the buses to a safety week and a lot of the pupils were quite disappointed that their schools didn't have them," she said.

"Those that did were getting on saying 'This is our bus and it's brilliant', they just love the whole concept of it."

Ms Hewitt said other motorists have got used to seeing the buses now and realise that children are onboard.

"When the drivers put pupils down, people tend to wait behind the bus now and the driver's have been saying that motorists are being more courteous towards them," she said.

Representatives from the First group will meet with government ministers to ask for tax breaks to reduce the costs of importing yellow buses from America.


More from north east Wales
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13 Jun 00 | Americas
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