August 22, 2017 6:37 pm
Updated: August 22, 2017 9:57 pm

Regina’s ‘First Ride’ program teaches kids proper bus safety

Back to school: For some youngsters, this will be their first time away from home and their journey to learning may well start with a bus ride. Our Christa Dao tagged along for School Bus 101.


Not every lesson is learned in a classroom, and some actually begin well before school starts.

Dozens of students – and their parents – got a lesson in school bus safety Tuesday. The First Ride program gave youngsters a chance to ride the bus and learn about the do’s and don’t’s.

Educators and safety advocates were at Plainsview and St. Nicholas School, detailing what kids can expect and how to stay safe when boarding a bus.

READ MORE: Are you endangering your kids by driving them to school?

“They get to see me be the worst kid imaginable. I literally sit on the seats, stick my head out the window. I will do everything to be the biggest nightmare to the bus driver,” Catholic School Division Transportation officer Elena Chase said.

“It will stick with the kids because they will have fun and they realize what not to do,”

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For many of the students, Tuesday was the first time they have ever set foot onto a bus.

“We want to make sure they know how to sit, how to get on and off the bus. They get excited and run towards the school bus. We want to show them the dangers,” Chase said.

“We go through rear door evacuations so kids understand how to get off the bus if there’s an emergency. We go through the safety and the importance [of it]… The goal is to educate. Bus is the safest mode of transport to and from school.”

A recent CAA survey found the top two hazardous behaviours in a school zone are speeding and distracted driving.

Safety is a two-way street and according to CAA’s Saskatchewan director of communications Christine Niemczyk, everyone has a role to play in children’s safety.

“Pay attention, stay alert. Reduce your speed,” Niemczyk said.

“The message here for parents is to promote school bus safety. Make sure the kids know how to board the bus safely, how to behave safely, and make sure they’re ready and not nervous to ride the bus,” Saskatchewan Safety Council Merissa Scarlet said.

READ MORE: Getting kids in a back-to-school sleep routine

The ride program isn’t just for the kids. Parents benefit too.

Parent Gloria Abolajo said seeing the program first hand helped calm her nerves about sending her child to school. Her four-year-old son Daniel will be attending kindergarten in the fall.

“I feel much better. We were able to ask the bus driver several questions about safety, kid’s safety,” Abolajo said.

“As much as it is about the kids, I think it’s also about the parents. I think it does help quite a bit,” another parent, Dylan Longmoore said.

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