CHILDREN from Hoyland Common Primary School’s reception year got a taste of what it’s like to use public transport on a visit to Barnsley Transport Interchange.
The adventure began with a walk to the bus stop near to the school, before hopping on a bus to Chapeltown train station and boarding a train to Barnsley Interchange.
Twenty-six children, three teachers and volunteering parents took part in the trip where they learnt about security, bus maps, timetables and how to buy tickets.
“We like to base our learning around places that are familiar to the children”, explained teacher Kathryn Gregory. “We’re working on a topic which ties into something the children are really interested - transport and vehicles - so the visit was perfect.”
On the day, the children visited different areas of the interchange, learnt about bus platforms, were shown how the security radio is used and were given the chance to have a go themselves. They even had their picnic lunch at the interchange.
“The children were all well behaved and very interested in everything we showed them”, says Customer Service Ambassador Dennis Baker, who ‘guided’ the children through the bus station.
“They went in the control room, where they could see their friends through the security cameras and zoom in on them. They also had a go on our ticket kiosks, choosing what kind of travel pass they wanted to buy.”
The trip was organised in partnership with the Active and Sustainable Travel team from Travel South Yorkshire (TSY), whose role is to raise awareness of active travel and encourage more people of all ages to walk, cycle or use public transport to get around.
“We’re delighted to support the school with giving the children a public transport experience. If children start using buses and trains from a very young age, they will be able to see how easy it is for them to get around without a car and are more likely to feel confident to use it in the future”, says TSY Senior Travel Adviser Nicola Bladen.
“Using public transport or getting active when you travel is a great habit to form. The earlier we can get started with that the better. The impact of getting more people to travel sustainably is lower congestion, improved air quality and increased activity for individuals - so better for personal health and better for the environment.”
Children in South Yorkshire can travel on buses or trams for 80p a ticket until they are 18 years-old and there are a number of options for discounted travel passes for young people in the region. Travel South Yorkshire has been promoting the benefits of public transport and active travel through its #LittleBigChanges campaign. This encourages people across the region to ditch the car and choose the bus, train, tram or a more active way of travelling.
As part of the visit, the children were encouraged to think about how they could incorporate walking and cycling options into their daily travelling and were given pedometers to help them track their activity.
“The children were excited to be able to experience public transport travel first hand, which is something most of the class don’t do on a regular basis. On top of that, the interchange in Barnsley and the regeneration of the area is something positive to be celebrated by the local community”, said teacher Kathryn.
The pupils seemed to agree as it was big smiles and thumbs up from everyone on the bus journey back to school.
“I’m really grateful to TSY for helping us with this visit, I know the children had a great time and learnt a lot. One of the boys told me how he loved the cameras, while another enjoyed talking on the radio. Pippa, one of the girls, said she had the best day of her life”, Kathryn concluded.