Be The Bus

–written for ecomii blogs : http://www.ecomii.com

With rising gas prices, carbon-guilt and the knowledge that alternative transportation is the more sustainable approach to getting from here to there, many of us are looking for ways to do so in a viable way.  When it is just one body to move around, a bike, bus or light-rail train are usually convenient and workable. A whole other experience is alternatively transporting kids and the accompanying backpacks, snackpacks, toys, diaper bags, strollers and the rest of the provisions. Getting all of this in a self-contained vehicle is often trying enough, let alone taking it all to a public space like a bus.

Recently I’ve come across a concept that at least takes care of the kid’s school commute, provided you live within walking distance. The “walking school bus” gets together a regular group of kids and adults living along the same the route to the school and simulating a bus: a “driver”, a route with scheduled stops, and “riders”.

Pretty simple, yet it has explosive results. With statistics revealing that the average North American spends ninety percent of their time indoors, regular walking is a great way to ensure you and the kids get outside and are consistently active. It also solves any safety concerns around letting your kids walk themselves to school. Plan for two adults to be part of each bus and get to know your neighbors and fellow parents better. The walking school bus is a fantastic way to build a sense of community both within the school population and the neighborhood.

Check out The Walking School Bus for more resources on establishing a route, enlisting adult walkers, and basic safety principles. Getting started could be as easy as putting out some feelers with parents you already know and committing to walking the route, seeing who you pick up along the way!

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