|Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is advising parents and pupils to plan ahead for how they will travel to school in September and to cycle, walk or scoot to school where they can.|
|Travelling on foot, by bike or by scooter can be a safe and healthy way for pupils to make shorter trips, while freeing up space for those who need to use public transport for longer journeys.Parents and pupils should also look out for new cycling and walking routes that have been put in place across Greater Manchester as part of the #SafeStreetsSaveLives project to make it safer and easier than ever to get about on foot or by bike.
Parents and children who are planning on using public transport to travel to school are advised to plan ahead and make sure they are aware of changes which have been introduced due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Capacity may be limited on many services, timetables may be different and Yellow School Buses will run without a pass system in place – meaning they will operate as regular school buses, so any schoolchild can use them.
Pupils using public transport will also need to follow safe travel guidance and take responsibility for keeping themselves and others safe. They should:
Parents of children moving up from primary to secondary school, who plan to use public transport, should also apply for a TfGM igo card for their son or daughter as soon as possible.
As well as making it easy to buy season tickets in advance, Children aged 11 to 16 must have an igo card to travel using a child ticket on buses in Greater Manchester. It can also be used as proof of age for travelling by tram, and child Metrolink tickets are available for igo online at getmethere.com.
Some bus tickets are only available to buy using igo as a smart card, even for those under 11, as tickets are loaded onto the igo card instead of giving a paper ticket. The card costs £10 and is valid until 31 August after the child’s 16th birthday.
If parents have to drive their children to or from school, they are asked to switch off their engine when waiting outside schools to reduce air pollution and consider parking further away and walking the last part of the journey.
Sean Dyball, Head of Customer Engagement at TfGM, said: “When schools return this September, parents and pupils need to be fully aware that travel hasn’t returned to normal.
“Our advice would be to travel on foot or by bike where possible, as this is a safe and healthy way to get to and from school.
“If you do need to travel to school by public transport, it is available, but you do need to plan ahead, apply for any passes you need now, check timetables in advance and be aware that capacity may be limited.
“When travelling to school, you should allow extra time for your journeys in case your first service is full, be patient with other passengers and take responsibility for keeping yourself and others safe.
“We want all our passengers to be able to travel safely and have worked with operators across Greater Manchester to make this possible with enhanced cleaning regimes, hand sanitising stations, extra services and passenger information and signage.”
To help those returning to school in September do so safely, TfGM has created a Back to School hub at tfgm.com/schools where parents and pupils can find the latest information on timetables, tickets, changes to Yellow School Bus services and further information on cycling and walking.