A WALKING bus is coming to Warndon to improve the health and safety of city children and end school ‘parking rage’ and other displays of ‘aggression’.

Cllr Jill Desayrah says the trial of the walking bus scheme will begin next month and two schools have already signed up - St Joseph's Roman Catholic and Cranham Primary School - with the opportunity for more to join up if it's successful.

The Warndon city councillor came up with the idea to promote active travel in the estate because she believes the scheme will support health, wellbeing and fitness among school children, improve relationships between parents and residents and reduce pollution. 

Cllr Desayrah said: “An active travel initiative seeks to get people out of their cars and onto their feet. In doing so it is hoped that relations between parents dropping their children at school and local residents can be improved.

“Everyone is fed up with the daily battle for parking spaces close to primary schools. Too many cars crowd into the same congested, narrow streets at drop off and pick up times.

RECOMMENDED READING: "I'll fight Warndon's corner' says gritty city councillor Jill Desayrah

RECOMMENDED READING: Warndon councillor moves big bed by herself for vulnerable woman

“Parking rage” incidents are very common and stressful, with aggressive exchanges in the street, often witnessed by the children.

“All the primary schools in Warndon experience these problems, so two trials of walking buses are planned in Warndon in December. Small groups of some of the parents and children who would normally drive to school will be invited to start these trials.

“Two Warndon primary schools are involved in this first set of trials, and after Christmas, the two other mainstream schools will be invited to join in."

St Joseph’s RC School in Chedworth Drive and Cranham Primary School in Tetbury Drive will each run a “walking bus” on one day a week, from the first full week of December until Christmas.

The walking buses will divert some of the car traffic to a nearby meeting point, no more than a 10 minute walk away. Here parents can park safely and considerately, and then walk into school in a group - the walking bus.

Cllr Desayrah said: “Hopefully the children will enjoy lining up into a crocodile and chatting with their parents and friends on their walk to school. Walking bus “passengers” will get free fun stickers and treats for joining.

“Many residents have contacted me about the aggressive and distressing encounters they experience around their homes at peak school traffic times. People often get blocked into their drives - despite it being illegal.

“Many people are worried that someone, maybe even a child, could get hurt in the melee. Widening the surrounding roads isn’t a possibility, so an alternative solution is needed.

"When I spoke with them, the primary schools were very happy to try it out. I’m very grateful for their enthusiasm and for the support of the local police. SNT Warndon have kindly offered to help on the first two trials and provide high-vis jackets for the walk marshals. But success can only come if the parents buy into it. It will take a bit longer to get to school, but everyone gets a little exercise and a much calmer start to their day, which surely makes it worthwhile.”