Council’s community bus gives kids a ticket to ride

Published: Mon 10 Oct 2016 12:49 PM
For immediate use
Date: 10 October 2016
Council’s community bus gives kids a ticket to ride
Today’s trip transporting Glenview School students to the Aquatic Centre for water safety lessons marked the first of many journeys for Te Pahi: The Porirua City Council Community School Bus.
To celebrate the first trip, local Toi Tāne musician Nofoala Lameko was along for the ride, singing and playing guitar with the students. The brightly coloured 39-seat bus has space for a wheelchair and is free for participating low decile schools. A number of Porirua school principals sought help from the Mayor and Council to enable students to access learning destinations outside the school by providing a free bus. Te Pahi will help reduce barriers to schools who want to participate in learning activities outside the classroom, such as visits to Pataka and swimming at the Aquatic Centre and Cannons Creek.
Glenview School Deputy Principal Lester Mohi says “All teachers want to give the best possible education for their students. The support from Council to get our kids out and about to enrich their learning experiences is truly appreciated”.
Purchase of Te Pahi was made possible thanks to a $60,000 grant from New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT). Trust Chief Executive Mike Knell said “The bus concept is a great community initiative. NZCT supported the project because it will provide a service to kids from schools and members of amateur sports groups in the local area the chance to go to events in the region that they may otherwise miss out on due to the cost of transport. Sport has a raft of health and social benefits and everyone should have equal opportunity to participate. We’re very happy to support this community service that makes sport more accessible, particularly to our youth.”
Te Pahi is owned and managed by the Council, while the maintenance, storage and operation of it will be done by local bus company Mana Coach Services, initially for a trial period of two school terms. Mana Coach Services is providing free storage for the bus at their depot and a special lower charge rate for bus trips, to help keep the operating costs low.
“This term’s focus for Te Pahi is to transport Porirua school students to swimming and water safety lessons by Dash instructors at Cannons Creek and the Aquatic Centre. It’s a double celebration because the Centre has recently been granted $30,000 to deliver water safety education to children in low decile schools in Porirua, with the bus providing the link from the school to the centre,” said PCC General Manager Bryan Patchett.
“It’s a concrete example of the Council putting children at the heart of decision making, and contributes to our strategic priority for children and young people and the outcomes for children’s PCC #4201292
education success, health and well-being, and makes connections with the local environment, community and culture.”
Eight decile one and two schools are taking part in the term-four trial. The decision on priority use for term one 2017 (the second phase of the trial period) will be made before the end of the year, with schools notified accordingly.

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