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Greens urge kids to catch the ‘walking bus’

Greens urge kids to catch the ‘walking bus’

Green Co-leader, Jeanette Fitzsimons is encouraging parents and kids to put their best foot forward this week, by leaving their car in the garage and walking to school.

New Zealand is one of 36 countries around the world participating in International Walk to School Week (4-8 October), which Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says is a great opportunity for kids and parents to help reduce traffic congestion while at the same time learning the benefits of improved fitness.

“Walking to school is a win-win result for kids’ health and for the environment,” said Ms Fitzsimons. “It gives kids some exercise, it allows them to actually breath some fresh air by reducing air pollution and it makes life safer by cutting down the traffic flows around school gates.

“We have the ludicrous Catch-22 situation at present where more than half of primary school children are regularly driven to school because parents fear heavy traffic make it unsafe for them to walk or cycle to school.

“Forty per cent of Auckland’s rush hour traffic is school-related, as witnessed by the noticeable reduction in congestion over the last two weeks of the school holidays. This shows that with a strong focus on school transport we can lop the peak off congestion and save everyone time and money.”

Ms Fitzsimons is encouraging schools to join-up to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) Walking School Bus initiative.

Some 240 schools around the country run ‘walking buses’, which have an adult ‘driver’ and an adult ‘conductor’ at the rear of the bus and which pick up ‘passengers’ at specific stops along the way.

Auckland already has more than fifty schools operating walking buses, but the prize must go to Westmere School which has 48 per cent of its pupils - 210 children - registered for four "waka waewae" (walking buses) converging on the school.

“Walking school buses are a perfect example of what we had in mind when we ensured that the concept of travel demand management was incorporated in the new transport legislation,” said Ms Fitzsimons. “It shows how car use can be reduced with no loss of mobility.”

Further Information: Green Party Transport campaign -

EECA International Walk to School Week –

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