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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
'Walking bus' goes to school
Children at Llanidloes
The 'walking bus' gets ready to go on its way
The first 'walking bus' in Powys has started weaving its way through Llanidloes to the county's biggest school.

The walking bus - pupils being escorted to school by volunteer parents - is designed to help reduce congestion at the gates of the town's primary school.

Although already common in other schools round Wales, this is the first in Powys.

The school with a pupil roll of 420 is the biggest primary school in the county.

Initially, the bus will only operate on Wednesday mornings but it is hoped that this will be expanded to include return journeys in the afternoon and additional days of the week.

There have been problems with traffic congestion at the entrance to the school for several years now
Nigel Jones, deputy head teacher

The timing of the route and having a parent volunteer at each end of the group - like a driver and conductor - has resulted in the term 'walking bus' to describe it.

Julie Pellow, co-ordinator of Llanidloes and District Community Transport Scheme, said: "Walking buses are an excellent way of getting children to and from school."

Parent volunteers have been police checked and given training by Powys Council's road safety department.

Children and volunteers wear high visibility tabards and children must be pre-registered before using the bus for the first time.

The main advantages of operating the system are reduced congestion at the school gates and lower levels of car emissions.

Traffic congestion is a problem at Llanidloes primary school

"It also means parents have more time because they don't have to go all the way to school and back," added Mrs Pellow.

"The children also receive the health benefits associated with outdoor exercise and arrive in school ready to start the day."

It is hoped that 'Walking Wednesday' could be a catalyst for encouraging other parents to walk their children to school, and extend the days the walking bus operates.

This is the latest initiative for Llanidloes Community Primary School with 10 children taking part in the launch.

"There have been problems with traffic congestion at the entrance to the school for several years now," said deputy head teacher Nigel Jones.

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