Azara Blog: School buses are allegedly wonderful, at least in Manchester

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Date published: 2007/12/16

The BBC says:

Yellow school buses are cutting congestion and improving pupils' behaviour and attendance in Greater Manchester, according to a report.

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA) pays for the services to 22 schools, providing journeys for more than 2,000 pupils.

A report to the authority said the buses had taken about 265,000 car miles off the road this school year.

Anti-social behaviour on school buses has reduced by 75%.

Schools have also praised the services, based on the American school buses, for improving attendance records, the authority said.
Councillor Alan Whitehead, chairman of GMPTA's transport network committee, said: "We already know from anecdotal evidence that they are popular, but this report really highlights the benefits of the service.

"The services are really helping to tackle local congestion caused by the school run, as well as offering a safe travelling environment for pupils."

Pupils using the buses have to sign up to a code of conduct, use the same seatbelt-equipped seats every day and have regular drivers.

Any report produced by or for a self-interested party has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

The BBC of course fails to mention who pays for the bus service. Needless to say, when you want to write a glowing article, instead of just repeating what some special interest pressure group (here the GMPTA) is telling you, the least you should do is give the cost of the service, and who is paying for it. If you throw enough money at anything, then of course you are going to get results. The question, as always, is whether it's value for money.

And the charming line "anti-social behaviour on school buses has reduced by 75%" fails to mention what that is relative to. School buses in America are notoriously prone to cliques (well, gangs) of kids picking on other kids. A school bus is not how you want to get to school if you are not part of the gang. Far better to walk or cycle.

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