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Travelling to school this spring

child cycling to school

As pupils return to school and college next week, the council is encouraging students and families to walk or cycle to school where possible.

Bracknell Forest has an excellent network of traffic-free paths and cycle routes that can be used for travelling to and from school. The risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 is lower outdoors, which makes these forms of travel a safe alternative. To plan your route to school, download a map of the network.

If walking or cycling is not possible, catching the bus could be a solution. The council has been working with bus operators to make sure this mode of transport is as safe as possible.

From Monday 8 March, all local bus services will be returning to regular schedules throughout the week and on weekends. The Courtney Buses services numbered 194E and 194S, intended for school pupils attending Edgbarrow and Sandhurst Schools, will also operate as they did in the autumn term.

Full details of times and routes are available on the operators’ websites:

Enhanced measures have been put in place by the operators for the safety of staff and passengers including:

  • encouraging social distancing whilst waiting at bus stops and on the bus by indicating which seats to use
  • buses being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected each evening, with additional cleaning of commonly touched areas during the day
  • encouraging contactless payments or prepaid tickets - cash can be used but to avoid cross-contamination change is not being given
  • hand sanitiser dispensers available for passenger use on all buses

For pupils catching the bus to school, please take note of the following:

During the school journey

During the school journey please note that:

  • when travelling on buses and trains it is law that children and young people aged 11 and over must wear a face covering, unless there is a valid exemption - this law now also applies to dedicated school transport to secondary schools
  • where a bus pass is required, it must be shown to the driver rather than handing it to them to hold
  • passengers must fill from the back and leave from the front, avoiding passing others in the aisle, unless travelling on a dedicated school bus with allocated seats
  • where available, passengers must use the hand sanitiser provided when entering and leaving the vehicle
  • passengers must treat all people at the designated stop, including other passengers and staff, with respect and understand that some may be at higher risk
  • passengers must not intentionally cough, spit, or invade another passenger’s space or the driver’s space

At the end of the school journey

At the end of the school journey make sure that:

  • you take all belongings with them when exiting the vehicle - it will be more difficult to return forgotten items during this time
  • you check the area outside of the vehicle doors before exiting and follow the appropriate and current social distancing legislation - there may be other students or public passing by

GOV.UK has guidance on safer travel, including car sharing.

Cllr Chris Turrell, Executive Member for Planning and Transport, said:

“It would be great to see more people using greener methods of transport such as cycling or walking, not only for its health benefits and to reduce our carbon footprint, but to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

“Whilst public transport is safe to use, to avoid overcrowding we must prioritise its use for those who really need it. Therefore, where possible, we ask that people do their bit to keep the borough moving safely and choose more active ways to get to school.

“I wish all our Bracknell forest students, teachers and school staff a happy and safe spring term.”