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WALKING SCHOOL BUS - A Guide for Parents and Teachers

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Welcome to the Walking School Bus™ Guide prepared for school communities throughout Australia. This guide explains the Walking School Bus™ concept to parents of primary school aged children, and provides information about how to join, or how to set up a Walking School Bus™ program in your school.

In some local areas, states or territories, there are guidelines and resources on how to run a Walking School Bus™. Contact information is listed in this guide and on the TravelSmart™ Australia website.



A Walking School Bus™ is a group of primary school children who walk to and from school along a safe and enjoyable set route, accompanied by a minimum of two parent driver/supervisors per 'bus'. One parent 'drives' at the front of the bus, while the other parent supervises at the rear. Additional parents may be needed depending on the local requirements. The walking bus picks up 'passengers' along the way at designated 'bus stops'.

The 'bus stops' can be meeting points along the route or at homes of the Walking School Bus™ participants. The process is reversed in the afternoon, led by the same or a different adult driver/supervisor. It can be flexible to suit the needs of families using it. The 'bus' can go as seldom or as often as parents want to 'drive' it and children want to use it. This means that it can even operate as little as one morning or afternoon each week. Many schools start the Walking School Bus™ on a one-day per week basis and increase its schedule over time. The service is free. Every child is welcome to join the bus even if their parents cannot be drivers.

Sample Walking School Bus Route

BENEFITS of the Walking School Bus

Many school communities have started their own walking bus programs, which support increasing needs to change our travel choices. Each child who is part of a Walking School Bus™ is potentially one less vehicle on the road. This eases traffic congestion, increases safety and reduces pollution.

The benefits of the Walking School Bus™ reach the whole community and include:

Walking School Bus PARENTS VIEWS

"From our experience of the Walking Bus it has only been a positive thing. It gets all of us walking more and the children do not complain about walking like they used to".

"Socially, it's great because the children meet other children they otherwise would only know by sight. My children have formed some good friendships because of the Walking Bus. The parents get to know other parents too!"

"Parents no longer have to get their children to and from school everyday. On days when I'm not rostered on I get an extra hour or so at the end of the day to myself. On days when the weather is too bad to walk, we are still better off because we usually car pool with other families on the Walking Bus".

HOW TO JOIN a Walking School Bus™

You may have a Walking Bus Coordinator or a TravelSmart™ School Coordinator in your local area who can advise you on routes and how to join a Walking School Bus™ Program. Contact your school Parent Association or local council to find out. You can also find out about Walking School Bus™ Programs in your state or territory through the contacts listed in this guide.

HOW TO START a Walking School Bus™

If you live in an area where there are no Walking School Bus™ programs in place, you may like to start one. Walking School Bus™ initiatives are voluntary and can be championed by parents, teachers, schools, local councils, or any interested community groups.

The main ingredients for success are people with commitment and enthusiasm to involve others and get the bus moving.

The Hobart City Council and Tasmanian Environment Centre have together created a Walking School Bus™ video and an online guide, which can be used as an example of a program and a guide for Parent Associations.

The following steps may ensure the walking bus is organised safely and effectively. Please note that in order to run a Walking School Bus™, some states have minimum standards which need to be met which include police checks, volunteer insurance, audit of routes by traffic engineers and training for volunteers.

The Steps Involved

How can you PROMOTE the Walking School Bus™?

Walking School Bus


This guide has been prepared by the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO) with concepts provided through: the Walking School Bus™ Program, CLIENT: NSW Dept of Planning and Kogarah Council CONSULTANT: People for Places and Spaces, Sydney; the Walking School Bus Brochure, and Program, Department for Planning and Infrastructure, WA; and the Training of TravelSmart Officers Resource Guide, Sustainable Energy Authority, Victoria.

Further Information:

TravelSmart™ Australia
Australian Greenhouse Office
Department of Environment and Heritage
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Ph: AGO Infoline 1300 130 606

Australian Capital Territory - TravelSmart™ Schools Walking School Bus™
YWCA of Canberra
GPO Box 767
Canberra ACT 2601
Ph: 02 6239 6878

Northern Territory
Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment
GPO Box 2520
Darwin NT 0801
Ph: 08 8924 7531

South Australia - TravelSmart™ to School
TravelSmart™ SA
PO Box 1
Walkerville SA 5081
Ph: 08 8226 8222

Victoria - Walking School Bus™
PO Box 154
Carlton South VIC 3053
Ph: 03 9667 1353

Tasmania - Move Well Eat Well for School
Department of Education
School Education Division
GPO Box 919
Hobart TAS 7001
Ph: 03 6233 7811

Tasmanian Environment Centre
102 Bathurst Street
Hobart TAS 7000
Ph: 03 6234 5566

Tasmania - Walking School Bus™ Program
& Walking School Bus™ Guide
Hobart City Council
GPO Box 503
Hobart TAS 7001
Ph: 03 6238 2711

Western Australia - Walking School Bus™
TravelSmart™ WA
GPO Box C102
Perth WA 6839
Ph: 08 9216 8306


The guide is also available for downloading as a PDF file. (PDF Help).

If you are unable to access this document, please contact the Community Partnerships Team to organise a suitable alternative format.