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What Walking School Buses are and why they matter

What Walking School Buses are and why they matter

Group of students walk to Queen Mary Elementary as part of a Walking School Bus

On school days, about one third of morning traffic in Metro Vancouver comes from cars dropping off kids at school, according to data from TransLink’s Trip Diary. This creates congestion in and around school zones while also contributing air pollution.

In response, TransLink, the City of Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver, and the Dedicated Action for School Health (DASH) are partnering on a new pilot program to encourage students to walk to and from school which promotes physical activity and helps reduce their carbon foot print.

The new initiative is called Kid Commute: A Walking School Bus Program, and consists of a group of students from the same school walking under the supervision of designated leaders. They walk along predetermined routes, at the same time each school day, with planned stops to pick up or drop off kids – just like a conventional school bus.

“When children are encouraged at an early age to take part in active transportation they’re more likely to continue choosing greener ways of moving around as they grow up,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn.

Julie Falk, a Walking School Bus leader whose daughter participates each morning in the program with her, says the program is a time saver for parents.

“They don’t have to worry about being in a car and trying to find parking around schools which is always crazy…And they’re helping eliminate congestion problems by getting their kids to walk to school.”

Julie Falk, a Walking School Bus leader stands in front of Queen Mary Elementary School
Julie Falk, a Walking School Bus leader in front of Queen Mary Elementary School. (TransLink)

Currently, there are eight participating Elementary Schools in the Cities of North Vancouver or Vancouver, but this program could expand depending on the success of the pilot and the interest from other schools and municipalities.

The participating schools include:

Elementary School Municipality
Larson North Vancouver
Queen Mary North Vancouver
Ridgeway North Vancouver
Westview North Vancouver
Queensbury (Starting April 2022) North Vancouver
Cunningham Vancouver
Lord Selkirk Annex Vancouver
Trafalgar Vancouver

Families or school administrators who would like to get involved with this program should reach out to DASH by emailing info@dash.bc.ca.

Kids Walking to Queen Mary Elementary School

Dan Mountain

I'm just a guy who hates bios, but likes trains... and buses... and SeaBuses.