In recent years, there has been a concerted effort to encourage children and parents to travel to school using non-car modes of transport. A range of initiatives, including walking buses, and better school buses have been implemented, with many parents enthusiastic in their support. But, if your child goes to school in the Marston Vale, then you could use the train as well.
Below is some practical advice on how to get your child to use the train, and how you can avoid the school run!
We understand that the safety of your children will be your number one concern. We are pleased to say that, contrary to popular opinion, the railways are extremely safe. Crime on Marston Vale Line trains is almost unheard of, while railways generally are the safest form of land transport. In addition to this, we have a conductor on each of our train services, so a member of staff is always present on our trains. There is also an emergency contact point at each and every station, with emergency telephone numbers also given.
If your child is aged under 11 years old, we would recommend that they not travel on the train on their own, without a responsible adult present (excluding the conductor, of course). This is because while trains are safe, they can be dangerous for young children who are unsupervised. We would also advise that any child of any age also travels with a group of friends, if at all possible.
The Practical Stuff
If you are interested in using the train service to take your child to and from school, there are just a few practical things that you need to do:
Check the train times. The most obvious thing, but make sure that your children can get from the train to school in time!
Buy your child a season ticket. This is the best value fare your child can use over the school term. You need to buy one at either Bedford or Bletchley stations, and you need a passport-sized photo of your child for the photo card.
Go on the journey with your child. You may want to do this so they can become familiar with their journey, and as a confidence builder if they have never used the train before.
If your child has never used a train before, there are a number of things that they would need to know before using the train by themselves:
What platform they need to catch their train from
How to read a timetable
How to buy a ticket (if they need to)
Basic railway safety, like how to get on and off trains safely, standing away from the platform edge, and not to trespass on railway land
Who they can go to in an emergency
The best way to teach them all of these things is to simply show
them how to do it! Plan a journey with them, and when you have some
spare time take that trip on the train. Talk them through what you
are doing, and let them be involved in it. It is surprising how
much they will learn by just doing this!
You should also ask the school that your child attends what they are doing to encourage kids to use the train. Many schools have what is called a School Travel Plan, which aims to encourage more kids to walk, cycle, and use public transport to get to school. We work with local schools to help them with their School Travel Plans.
If you have any ideas that you think would encourage more kids to use the train, or you just want a bit more help, then contact us on . We look forward to hearing from you!