Students Enjoy "Walking" School Bus
Columbia's PedNet Coalition is encouraging kids and parents to hit the pavement with two feet instead of four wheels.
Starting this week, Walthall's bus is one of 12 groups that walk to elementary schools in Columbia. Each group has at least five kids, but not all groups walk five days a week.
"Someone asked me what I did and I said, 'I walk kids to school,' Walthall said. "And, if it's someone of an older generation, they'll go, 'Well, what's so great about that?'"
Some kids agreed the walk to school is more enjoyable than riding in a carpool or bus.
"It's kind of like having recess," said Price Phillips.
"Some kids ride with their parents and stuff," added Mary Catherine Burns. "But, walking is really good exercise and you can talk with your friends."
Sami Baugher said, "One, it won't waste as much gas, and it's just funner because you get some fresh air."
District officials said fewer kids on school buses won't affect service.
"I believe the walking, for some of these children, will be weather-dependent," said Deputy Superintendent Jacques Cowherd. "And we'll still need to provide that transportation, take a look at that, and the after-school activities also."
For Walthall, her "walking" bus is more than transportation.
"Life is too short, and these kids are only little so long, and you want to spend as much time as you can with them," she explained. "I want them to have good memories of when they went to school and the crazy ladies who walked them to school. And they love the stories and I hope that, when they become parents, they'll turn around and keep it going. Do the same thing!"