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Young People

HCC criticised over £5,000 ‘how to catch a bus’ scheme for kids

Herts County Council (HCC) has come under fire for a scheme that teaches young children how to ride a bus, costing £5,000 a year to run.

The "Cool Bus" classes for 10 and 11-year-olds, aimed at Year 6 pupils who are likely to need to use buses when they start secondary school in September, have been criticised by some as a waste of taxpayers' money during a time of recession.

Each 90-minute class is intended to help pupils feel confident about catching the bus, with guidance on how to behave, the cost of vandalism and how to use a phone to find out about public transport. The scheme is run by the bus company Arriva, who approached HCC to fund it.

A spokesman for the Taxpayers' Alliance said "It is excessive to run a special tour of 90-minute talks just to explain how to use the bus. Some of this should be perfectly obvious, while things like how to behave should be down to parents, not the taxpayer."

Stuart Reynolds, marketing officer at the council's passenger transport unit, defended the Cool Bus scheme as a "fantastic resource", since "catching a bus for the first time can be a daunting experience" for young children.

As reported in The Telegraph, 6 May 2009.

Do you think that HCC could afford to let children learn to use the bus themselves during the recession, or is it that groups like the Taxpayers' Alliance are too intent on cutting back public sector spending? Let us know what you think using the form below.

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