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walking bus stop signIt’s all aboard for children in Medway as the number of youngsters using the Walking Bus service doubles. Almost 1,500 youngsters now take part in the project – up from 734 previously – and there are 47 active routes.

The Medway Council scheme is a fun, healthy, and safe way of travelling to school. Powered by good, old-fashioned legwork, the children and volunteers walk in a group along a set route, picking up or dropping off ‘passengers’ at specific ‘bus stops’ on their journey to and from school.

The rise in users was boosted with a ‘Hedgehog Hike’ and ‘Social Netwalk’ event during International Walk to School Month where 17 schools in Medway took part. Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services, councillor Phil Filmer, said: “We’re delighted more and more children are taking part in this scheme.

“It’s a great way for children to get to school, helps encourage them to be safe on the road as well as having health and environmental benefits.”

A walking bus can be easy to set up and must have a minimum of two adults per route (often staff or parents); an adult ‘driver’ at the front of the bus to and a ‘conductor’ at the back of the bus, ensuring that a ratio of one adult to every six children is met.

Younger children and babies transported in pushchairs or buggies may join the walking bus if accompanied by their parent or carer.

To find out more about individual schemes in Medway, email travel.safety@medway.gov.uk or visit http://www.kmwalktoschool.co.uk/

In a separate success, Medway Council has now issued 40,000 reflective tags to schoolchildren to help them stay safer on their journeys to and from school. The tags, which can be attached to backpacks, bags or on clothing, helps make children visible in headlights up to 150m sooner and it makes children up to 15 times more visible in daylight. Community wardens have helped deliver the tags, which were funded by the council’s Public Health department.

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busThursday 27 December will see the streets of Medway playing host to an array of old and unusual buses taking part in the Diamond Jubilee Bus Event. Nu-Venture have assembled a colourful collection of vehicles past and present which will supplement the normal bus services between about 1000 and 1530.

The event ‘HQ’ will be at the Acorn Wharf Coach Park in Gas House Lane, Rochester, just a short stroll from the shops and cafes in Rochester High Street, so while the mums are busy shopping, dads and kids can look at the buses on display in the coach park and take some free rides on the frequent runs between Rochester Coach Park and Chatham, the first bus from Chatham will depart at 0945 then every 15 minutes until 1530. For those travelling from further afield, there will also be a shuttle bus between Strood Station and the Coach Park, first bus 1005 then every 30 minutes until 1505.

Special bus routes will operate to and from Lodge Hill, Earl Estate, Medway Gate and also Princes Park to meet the service 150 to and from Maidstone.

The Friends of Chatham Traction will have a stall promoting their work to completely restore a 1939 Chatham & District double-deck bus.

The event builds on a similar – and very popular – event held in Maidstone in December 2002 for the Golden Jubilee.

Full details can be found by visiting www.nu-venture.co.uk

A significant step towards transforming and regenerating Medway takes place on Monday (10 October) with the opening of the new Chatham Waterfront Bus Station. More

A new bus service will provide a direct and frequent link between Strood, Chatham and the Medway City Estate for the first time. More

I am pleased to announce that there has been a campaign for a direct bus route from Upnor to the Rochester Grammar Schools More

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