Walking bus guidelines


All volunteers and children taking part in the walking bus scheme will be issued with a reflective tabard which must be securely fastened and always worn when using the bus.


The Medway Walking Bus will operate on a ratio of one adult to every 6 children.

There must always be at least 2 adults present on each route, one acting as the driver and the other as the conductor. This means that if a 13th child joined the walking bus, then another volunteer must be present, and this would continue for every 6th child. However, if more volunteers wish to help on the bus, they are allowed.

Emergency procedures

The walking bus routes pass through residential areas wherever possible, so, in the event of a major incident volunteers would be needed to seek help from the emergency services by either mobile phone if one is available, or by seeking help from neighbouring properties along the route.

The walking bus register for the route contains details of the emergency contact numbers and information regarding any medical conditions that effect the children or details of any medication they may be taking. It is thought that most volunteers will be parents or carers, and that they will be capable of dealing with any minor incidents, such as a grazed knee which can be attended to on arrival at the school.

Insurance cover

Volunteers will benefit from Medway Council’s employers' liability and public liability insurance cover in the same way as employees if they operate under the auspices of Medway Council and:

  • have received road safety training
  • have provided personal details and have been vetted by the police are monitored by the council’s road safety teams annually
  • a ratio of at least one adult volunteer to 6 children is maintained.

Provided that the above are adhered to, cover will apply as follows.

Subject to the terms and conditions of the policy, all sums which the volunteer is liable at law to pay happening in connection with the exercise of the responsibilities of the volunteer agreed by Medway Council as damages in respect of:

  • accidental injury (fatal or otherwise) of or to any person
  • accidental loss of or damage to property.


All routes to be used by the Medway Walking Bus have had a risk assessment carried out by the road safety engineer and have been approved by the road safety officer. These recommended routes must be always followed.

Should any section of an authorised route become impassable the adult volunteers must take an alternative route, which minimises the risk to the children.

The children must walk in pairs and will be expected to carry their own bags on the journey. If a route uses a narrow footpath, children should walk in single file. The children must walk in an orderly manner on the pavement away from the kerb. The members of the walking bus should have consideration for other pedestrians and should leave sufficient room for them to pass freely.

The walking bus and the bus operators do not have the authority to stop traffic to crossroads. Should any road user stop to allow the bus to cross the road, the volunteers must ensure that other traffic is aware of the walking bus and that they have stopped before the children attempt to cross the road.

Every walking bus will have a driver and a conductor. The driver will lead the crocodile of children from the front. The conductor will walk at the rear of the bus, so that all the children can be seen and are kept under close supervision. Any additional volunteers will be positioned throughout the bus to help supervise the children. The driver and the conductor must always remain with the bus while on the agreed route.


The walking bus will operate on every day that the bus has been timetabled to walk to and from school, regardless of weather conditions.

The bus will operate a strict timetable and will not wait for latecomers in the morning, even if children are expected to travel. All children must be at the designated bus stops at the appointed time and must be collected from the bus stop on time in the afternoon unless they have been given permission to continue home from the stop unsupervised.

It is important that parents and carers remember that they are responsible for their child’s safety on the way to and from the designated bus stop, and on the journey to and from school.

Records and register

The driver should carry a register, as they need to know who will be using the bus and when. The register should contain details of attendance, emergency contact telephone numbers, volunteers’ telephone numbers, their availability, and a copy of the rota.

It is essential that parents notify the walking bus co-ordinator if their child is unable to go to school through, for example illness, or cannot go home on the bus because of some other commitment like a visit to the dentist’s or going to a friend’s house after school.

Similarly, if a volunteer is unable to make it, a relief should be contacted, otherwise the bus service for that day would have to be cancelled.

Walking bus volunteers

The success of a walking bus is dependent upon the volunteers who act as drivers and conductors. Without enthusiastic and committed individuals, the wheels of the bus will not turn. It is therefore essential that the scheme has as many volunteers as possible, so that the routes are always covered, and that the responsibility does not just fall on the same 2 committed volunteers.

All volunteers who wish to take part in the scheme must have received road safety training from the road safety officer and must have a police check before they are allowed to supervise the walking bus.

While acting as drivers and conductors, all volunteers must wear the fluorescent tabard provided.

The children – passengers

It is expected that all children on the routes will sign a pupil’s promise to behave sensibly and courteously always on the walking bus, and that parents stress the importance of good behaviour on the journey to and from school. Any child who is seen to endanger themselves or others,
or who behaves in an inappropriate manner will be withdrawn from the walking bus. The headteacher will be notified and appropriate action will be taken.

If for any reason, a child misses the walking bus in the afternoon, they should go to the school office, and report it to a member of staff. They should not attempt to walk home unaccompanied.

Parental or carer consent

Before a child is allowed to travel on the walking bus, parents must complete a written consent form.

This should provide details of emergency contact details, a list of any medical conditions that the bus operators should be aware of, and days when the child will be using the bus. For example, every day, just mornings, or once a week.

Parents and carers are responsible for informing the driver of any changes to their child’s attendance on the bus.

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