Some Comox Valley elementary students get aboard ‘walking bus’

Aspen Park Elementary students took their first ride on the school's Heel-Toe Express Thursday.

ASPEN PARK ELEMENTARY students take their first 'ride' on the Walking Bus. The parent-monitored bus takes kids to and from school Thursdays.

ASPEN PARK ELEMENTARY students take their first 'ride' on the Walking Bus. The parent-monitored bus takes kids to and from school Thursdays.

Aspen Park Elementary students took their first ride on the school’s Heel-Toe Express Thursday.The Heel-Toe Express is the name of the school’s new Walking Bus initiative, in which students are picked up at ‘bus stops’ as they walk to and from school in a group.Parents are in attendance, with one for every eight children. Kids can also hop on the bus in between ‘stops’ if it’s more convenient to do so.”Among the benefits of a Walking Bus are an opportunity to build school spirit and school pride, more exercise for children and reduced traffic congestion around the school,” said Aspen PAC member Ruth Farrow in an e-mail.Farrow also noted Aspen Park is the second school in the Valley to start a Walking Bus, as Cumberland Elementary School has started one, too.Other reasons for joining the Walking Bus, as listed in a letter sent out to Aspen Park parents, are: improved air quality for everyone; safer, calmer streets and neighbourhoods; a healthier lifestyle for the whole family; cost savings on fuel; students improve and practice traffic safety skills; a fun and interesting way to get to and from school; and the chance to meet new people.The Heel-Toe Express has an east route and a west route. The west route leaves the corner of Avro Arrow Drive and Canuck Place at 8:15 a.m and leaves the school in the afternoon at 2:35 p.m. from the bike racks. The east route leaves the Comox Recreation Centre, (west side of building by gymnastics doors), at 8:10 a.m. and leaves the school in the afternoon at 2:35 p.m. from the basketball courts.Rules for walkers include: listen to the adult ‘bus drivers’ at all times; stay with the group, no running ahead or lagging behind; no pushing or fooling around while walking or waiting; respect neighbourhood property; obey all traffic rules and signs; be on time; this is a walking bus only — not scooter, skateboards or bicycles; no littering; and have fun!For more information, e-mail aspenpac@gmail.com.

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