Yellow bus cuts school run traffic

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The Independent Online

Britain's first commercially operated "yellow bus" service has started taking children to school in West Yorkshire, with the operator claiming it could cut school traffic by 50,000 cars a year.

Britain's first commercially operated "yellow bus" service has started taking children to school in West Yorkshire, with the operator claiming it could cut school traffic by 50,000 cars a year.

The specialist American-made buses carry 125 children to and from schools in the Pennine towns of Heptonstall and Hebden Bridge.

The First group, which runs the service, says that the experimental service could lead to a major reduction in traffic, and is due to begin another pilot service in Surrey. If the company is successful in persuading parents to leave their cars at home, First hopes to expand the services nationwide.

The school run accounts for between 15 and 20 per cent of all traffic in Britain, and the number of pupils driven to school by their parents has doubled in the past decade. Moir Lockhead, the chief executive, said that 54 per cent of US children under 12 go to school by bus, compared with only 7 per cent here. "There is enormous scope for this sort of service to reduce congestion caused by the school run and boost safety."

While the West Yorkshire services are the first commercially run yellow buses, children in Staffordshire were the first to travel on American-made vehicles after the county council started building its own 15-strong fleet of yellow buses in 1997.

According to the county council, they have modern safety features including three-point seat belts, and are better maintained than many privately run vehicles.

Staffordshire believes that more children are now travelling by bus as a result, and that the amount of school traffic has been noticeably reduced. "They have been a huge success," said a spokesman.

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