Safety at bus stops from childrens point of view By Simon Kirby Introduction I chose to investigate this subject because I will be going on a bus to school next term. I have been told not to worry, but I want to be sure that I’m safe. My older brother told me that once the bus driver drove off without everybody on the bus. This was because he was in a rush. This makes me feel a bit nervous and anxious. Methodology I designed a questionnaire that would help me find out what children thought about traveling on buses. I did this to get some background information and to help me design some in-depth follow-up interviews with 5 children. In-depth interviews I found that my interviews went well. The kids talked to me like we were in the playground and expressed their opinion’s openly to me the Also, the language that they used would not be acceptable or understood by an adult point of view, where as with me it was fine, because that is how we talk in the playground. For example, the use of slang such as the word ‘ain’t’, the words hobboes, scabby and ninja. Findings I have found out from the questionnaires that children would be waiting for a school bus as early as 7 o’clock in the morning and as late in the evening as 6 o’clock some children might still be on a bus. In the winter months at this time it is dark and cold. I asked if any bus stops were near any of these buildings a house, bar/pub, shop and any other building. I asked these questions because I wanted to see if they could feel safe around buildings. I thought for example if you were near a shop you could use a payphone if you got in trouble when, you can’t in a housed area. 70% that answered walked home from the bus on their own, which I thought it might make them feel vulnerable and from my interviews I found that younger children would prefer to walk with someone else if they could. 42% of the people said they were often bullied on the way to and from school and 42% said they were never bullied. All of my respondents had one thing in common, they all used the bus to get to the city centre. They all go to the city centre because it is a social point of Milton Keynes. This is where they can meet up with their friends. All the children I interviewed travel on the bus with someone else. Milton Keynes Shopping centre is quite famous.. It is one of the longest in the country. If you go from one end to another, from John Lewis to the Lego shop I think it’s about 2km. Feeling unsafe at bus stops The kinds of things that make e=children feel unsafe traveling by bus are summarized here. Hobboes*/tramps/drunks Poor lighting and no bus shelter People hanging around the bus stop Broken glass No buildings nearby Smashed benches No timetable because it’s been ripped out Graffiti Violent people Rapists unhelpful drivers *hobboe is slang for a homeless person Some children find traveling by bus quite pleasurable. For example, Amir said ‘I find it better than going in a car because I like going slowly . I like stopping at stops and seeing different places’. But Wren does not feel happy on a bus. She said that she feels ‘scabby’ because ‘people think I don’t have a car and stuff. We do, but my dad’s just bad at driving’. Other children see using the bus as a necessity. It is the only way for some children to get around, unless they walk. Here are some suggestions children made for better experiences travelling by bus. Having a gate around the bus stop and you need a card to get into the bus stop. Bus stops should be clean and should be less bare. Perhaps there should be something to read? Have a bus stop near buildings Comfier seats Bell by each seat Drivers should give change There should be no gum on the bus. Putting all my findings together Sometimes research reports can be a bit boring so I decided to be creative and pull all of my findings together and use them to create a ‘story’ of a bus journey. The ok bus journey Lewis was loping from his house on the Springfield estate to the bus stop. It was Saturday morning in late July. It was a radiant summer‟s day. He was going to meet up with his friends Amir and Bob at the bus stop. They all lived in different areas but went to the same school. As he walked past number 6 Billingwell Place, he noticed a group of chavs. They were huddled around an old rover metro, trying to fix the old banger as they called it. A few others were standing around chatting, Lewis couldn‟t help but feel a bit nervous as he walked past, because he noticed some were smoking. He looked up and saw one of them holding a screwdriver as if it was a dagger, gripping it with a clenched fist. He could smell petrol fumes. One of the boys was trying to start up his scooter, like you would start up a motor boat. He was unsuccessful in this matter. He made a rude sign at the scooter and walked off. Lewis crossed over the road. They all seemed to be looking in his direction. He looked forward, quickened his pace and did not look back until he was safely around the corner. The bus stop was near a Tesco Express. When he met his friends he showed the respect symbol. They had grown out of doing their secret handshake, that had involved banging their shoulders together, even though Lewis still practiced it in front of the mirror. They couldn‟t sit down because the plastic benches had been smashed a long time ago, so they just stood and waited for the bus. The windows had also been smashed and hundreds of bits of glass were scattered over the bus shelter‟s floor. A man stopped at the bus stop. He had a strong smell of alcohol around him. He stopped and looked at the three of them. He walked of in the direction of the pub. Even though the bus was on schedule, Lewis was a little nervous. But Amir started laughing when he saw a boy dressed as „sponge Bob square pants‟. He was walking on his own to what looked like a fancy dress party and the others giggled madly, out loud. The boy did not hear them, luckily, thought Lewis. They saw the bus in the distance the bus was an old MK metro a 20 seater. The bus was going at the lawful speed of 30 miles per hour, but did not seem to be slowing down. Bob stuck his hand out but the driver did not slow. Amir ran into the road and waved his arms round, and the bus came to a screeching halt. The bus driver had an expression of pure fury on his face, frowning at them with pursed lips. He opened the door for them and shouted „You almost got killed you idiot‟ to Amir. Amir just paid his 45p and got on the bus. Lewis only had a pound coin and the bus driver said „Can‟t give you change‟. Lewis gave out a long „what?‟ and gave the driver a 50p piece he had at the bottom of his pocket. The bus was empty except two old people, talking about cricket „England hit a six yesterday‟ one was saying. The other said „Austrailia was all out for 270‟. The boys sat at the back of the bus, so they could sit together. Amir and Bob started talking about football. „Liverpool beat Chelsea one nil‟ said Amir „Did you see Garcia‟s goal? It was excellent. Header into the back of the nets.‟ „Yeh but did you see Gerard‟s corner? It was the best!” Lewis looked out of the window and noticed Willan Lake and a feeling of calmness came over him, after the bus driver being difficult. It was like he was going in a dream, remembering the summers he had spent there, on a sailing course. It was really a drainage lake, Milton Keynes roads were all tar and concrete and so rain water had to run somewhere, so the lake is on a dip. The water has drained into it. It looks cool. People sailing, trying to anyway. Serious windsurfers attached to their sails going 90 mph. There are the dinghies and motor boats and the ducks. Lewis noticed the beautiful peace pagoda. It is gold leaf statue of the Buddha. People had tried to vandalise it but they never got to it, because it has been fenced off . The buddha looked weird, with his big ears, weighed down with stones. It made Lewis feel so small. Bob and Amir were having a conversation about buses Bob exclaimed “ I feel so scabby being on a bus because it makes me feel like I don‟t have a car.” “But you do have a car its just that your not allowed to drive it.” Amir laughed “ It‟s the only way to get around” Lewis noticed an OAP tried to get off the bus. She took a long time. The bus driver closed the door as soon as she has got off the bus and he drove on in a huff. Their stop was next. Right in the city centre, outside the point, the old cinema. As they got off they noticed a group of hobboes, holding milk bottles. They stood up and spun their arms around like windmills. All this flailing about intimidated Lewis and he walked past them cautiously. He quickened his pace past them and kept that fast pace up. For all three of them were heading to the lego shop to stare at the new star wars sets.