The tendency in home to school traffic shows an enormous increase of car traffic. Children are driven by their parents. This leads to a lack of independency. Children don’t know how to use public transport and how to behave in dangerous situations. The project Bus School of the public transport provider in Wuppertal, Germany prepares children to use public transport alone and independent.
Background & Objectives
Children and adolescents are among the largest groups to travel on buses and trains every day. Yet children and adolescents often act spontaneously while in traffic (including public transport), which can cause dangerous situations to develop. Children are only seldom prepared for the bus and train environment. Their parents frequently take them to kindergarten, to school and to free time activities by car.
The BusSchool project, which focuses on the area of transport education, is offered cost-free to all kindergartens, day care centres and elementary schools in Wuppertal. The BusSchool (a project of the WSW, the Wuppertal transport company) is aimed at influencing the behaviour of children and adolescents, teaching them to use public transport modes without fear and in a safe manner. Enabling children to gain their own experiences and to be “streetwise” about the possible dangers of traffic are the emphasis of the programme, while a condescending approach is avoided.
The BusSchool programme focuses on the following main topics:
- Behaviour at bus stops
- Behaviour when getting on and off the bus
- Not being afraid of automatic doors
- Role play, acting out the scenario of a bus pass check with WSW bus passes for children
- Ticket check with “real customers” on the elevated train
- Emergency braking
- Crossing the street/bus lane
- Using the stop-request button
- Emergency hammers
- A visit to the central control station
- A visit to the main bus parking facility
- Fire extinguishers
- A visit to the WSW bus repair shop
Around 12000 children and adolescents have attended the BusSchool in Wuppertal between 1996 and 2011. Every year, 25 to 30 BusSchool sessions are offered between the beginning of April and the end of October at kindergartens, day care centres and elementary schools. In 2010 BusSchool for seniors was introduced.
German TV coverage about it can be found<a data-cke-saved-href="http://" href="http://" http:="" www.wsw-online.de="" hidden="" video="" 101019%20busschule%20f%c3%bcr%20senioren"=""> http://www.wsw-online.de/hidden/Video/101019%20Busschule%20f%C3%BCr%20Senioren