Parents and pupils in Greater Manchester are being urged to plan to get to school by bicycle or scooter or on foot when term reopens in September if they can, to free up scarcer space on public transport for those who need to travel longer distances.
They would be supported by new cycling and walking routes, put in place across the region as part of the #SafeStreetsSaveLives project; like many cities and regions in the world, Greater Manchester has been taking measures to keep people moving while allowing for safe social distancing.
That has included lowering capacity on public transport, which has led to the common concern that this could cause heavier traffic, congestion and greater air pollution.
Transport for Greater Manchester has also provided detailed advice for parents and children for whom using public transport is necessary.
As for those who must take their cars, it has this advice: “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.”
Air pollution caused by vehicles idling outside of schools has been an ongoing hot topic in the region.
“When schools return this September, parents and pupils need to be fully aware that travel hasn’t returned to normal,” said Head of Customer Engagement at TfGM, Sean Dyball.
“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,” he continued.
Cycling trips increased by an average of 34 per cent in Greater Manchester when the region responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with a lockdown, according to #SafeStreetsSaveLives, an initiative created to respond to the surge in demand for safe mobility options.
The campaign, made possible through £5m of emergency funding from the Mayor’s Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund, encourages each district to introduce measures that most benefit their residents.
Transport for Greater Manchester, on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and local authorities, submitted a £21.5m GM-wide funding bid to the Department for Transport, which included plans for 200km of protected cycle lanes, 94km of which are on strategic routes.
Read the media release from Transport for Greater Manchester here: TfGM urges parents and pupils to check travel advice, plan ahead and cycle or walk to school where possible in September
Read more about #SafeStreetsSaveLives.
Banner photo credits: Sustrans