United Academy

Pros and Cons of Using School Transportation

May 01, 2020
Last updated September 26, 2021
KMC Lalitpur

School transportation is an essential infrastructural component. It performs a fundamental function in bridging the spatial divide between the school and the residence of the student. The vast majority of students depend on school transportation to get to school each day.

Department of roads is responsible for managing roads for national integration and socio-economic development. According to statistics of the Department of Road, in 2016 there were 10,013 road accidents and 8,226 were injured in Nepal, due to the bad condition of roads and traffic congestion. This means we need to be careful about whether to use transportation for school or not.

50% of the road accidents are taking place in Kathmandu with severe to minor injuries while the death rate is higher outside Kathmandu. Motorcycles are mostly involved in accidents while heavy vehicles are involved outside Kathmandu. The composition of the motorcycle is highest with 73.2% among registered vehicles in Kathmandu valley followed by car/ jeep/ van with a share of 18.5%.1 and public transport constitutes only 2.5% of total passenger vehicles in Kathmandu valley.

Kathmandu Metropolitan City should develop a National Road Safety Policy and Action Plan to address the importance of bike lanes, Speed control, Pedestrian Crossing, and the use of sidewalks to reduce road accidents. School vans or buses require additional parking and route permit to transport students. The overcrowded school bus must be checked for regulation.

Pros of Using School Bus

While there are different modes of transportation to travel to school including bikes, cars, buses, and taxis, it may be beneficial for students to take the school bus for hassle-free travel. Taking a school bus saves fuel and cuts off rush hour traffic jams caused by cars. Also, the school run on a bus can decrease air pollution, since 40 students on a school bus make less carbon footprint than that of the students traveling individually on a car or motorbike. Some of the benefits of using the school bus are socialization, time management, independence, economic, and convenience.

School choice 

With the growth of school choice options and complex enrollment patterns, more students are crossing town to get to and from school, which places new demands on traditional transportation models built around neighborhood schools. In case the school is at a distance from home, students can get to school by school bus instead of parents doing the school run. 

Service

School transportation systems typically employ drivers and bus monitors than other transit sectors, enhancing their ability to provide service that is efficient and responsive.

Safety

School buses are the safest mode of student transportation, but safety agencies and advocates believe they should include seat belts, and students may face other risks related to traffic and personal safety.     

Cons of Using School Bus

Maintaining a pick-up and drop-off routine can be exhausting for schools as well as parents. Although there are rare cases of accidents caused by school buses or school buses being in an accident, it is not always guaranteed that school buses are safe from such road traffic accidents.

The number of children traveling to school in buses and vans has doubled over the past 20 years. There is a concern that the trend is contributing to traffic congestion and the number of students getting admitted to schools that take more than 1 hour of commute every day. This increases the carbon footprint, traffic congestion, and air pollution. Comparatively the percentage of the unhappy passenger with in-vehicle time seems to be lesser in comparison to the scale of traffic woes. This can be attributed to passengers being used to the existing situation for a long time.

Social

Kids like predictability. School is predictable but the bus ride is unpredictable. Walking can have a positive effect on a child’s emotional well-being. It can encourage independence, road sense, and also an opportunity to chat with friends.

Environmental Impact

Diesel exhaust has negative effects on the environment and children’s health, but districts can replace older buses and make technological upgrades that could mitigate harm. 

Alternative Mode of Transportation

Parents should try to avoid admitting children in the school beyond a distance of 5 kilometers to encourage walking instead of commute. It is advised to find if there are any schools in the local area. Parents should make walking fun and enjoyable for their children. While walking they can chat about the local surroundings, and encourage their child to talk about their school day. 

The school run accounts for a large proportion of rush-hour traffic. Some of the benefits of walking to school instead of using the school bus are:

Health

We know that a commute longer than ten kilometers negatively impacts children’s health. Additionally, around half of all children do not do the minimum one hour a day of physical activity recommended by the Health Education Authority. A brisk walk to school can help them get their daily exercise and arrive at school or home, refreshed and energized.

Environmental

If kids have a bad commute, they would be spending their first hour of school recuperating from the bus ride, and the first hour after school recuperating at home. The average drive to school and back releases 800g of CO2 into the air – enough to inflate over 60 balloons. Walking helps improve the environment by reducing CO2 emissions.

Economical

Parents should encourage their children to walk to school. That will save money on transport fares or petrol. Parents must make sure their child’s school bag isn’t too heavy as this can cause back problems and poor posture. They should check whether their child’s footwear is comfortable and appropriate for walking. They could bring trainers or rain-boots for the walk and change their shoes/boots once at school.

References

https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/2.17.Nepal_.pdf

 

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