Page 4: The service
First's UK Yellow Bus service is based on existing patterns in the US and Canada. There is a great emphasis on safety. Every year in the USA, over 600 school-aged children are killed in school-hour accidents involving private vehicles. On average there are 9 fatalities involving school bus occupants. Every year in the UK, 45of accidents involving children are road accidents - 200 children die and 9,000 are seriously injured. These are appalling figures. Yellow Bus can help reduce them.
Yellow Bus is a vehicle specifically designed to carry children safely. Its safety features include:
- an elevated passenger compartment on a rigid steel chassis that places passengers above the point of impact of most accidents
- roll-over bars to provide protection from crushing
- high-backed seating and seat belts with extra padding to protect children against the force of a front or rear impact
- enhanced brakes, lamps, mirrors, emergency exits and fuel tank protection
- an instantly recognised signal to motorists to be alert for children
- mechanical checks on the bus at least twice daily.
Each bus is allocated a specific driver, who is often a local parent with children of school age. The driver takes responsibility for checking the safety and cleanliness of the bus in every respect. Training and development of drivers includes useful ideas from teachers on how to build constructive relations with pupils, parents and teachers themselves. This means that the school journey becomes part of the educational process rather than just a bolt-on extra.
The Yellow Bus service helps young people to become more independent in travelling to school as well as providing them with a useful social experience with fellow students. Students are expected to take responsibility for their actions on the bus. Each has an allocated seat and, where necessary, a camera to observe activities on the bus so that the driver, parents and teachers have a record of behaviour during the journey. In this way it is easy to identify sources of vandalism on the bus, as well as other forms of inappropriate behaviour.
The service involves pupils of all ages from primary school to college. Drivers are able to pick up their passengers almost on a 'door to door' basis and the route is planned to best cater for the needs of students and parents. Students are expected to be at a pick-up point five minutes before the bus arrives, but drivers are also trained to look out for any who may be 'on the way'. Those that are continually late may lose the privilege of Yellow Bus travel.
Safety procedures include regular practice of bus evacuations so that students know exactly what to do if their bus is involved in a road accident.