View Full Version : Half term = half the time to get to work (UK)

16th Feb 2004, 16:32
This has been discussed before here on PPRuNe, but I'm still amazed at the reduction in traffic congestion on the roads when our kids go on their hols.

I have my own opinions on this matter, but I'd like to ask a few questions before making my mind up about why this happens.

1. Do school buses still run? When I went to school in the 80s we all caught a bus which drove us the 5 miles to school. I would guess that the majority of kids were taken to school this way, unless they lived within walking distance.

2. If you have to drive the kids to school (no buses), do you at least try and take other kids and share the load a bit, also reducing traffic?

3. If you're a working parent, have you taken time off work to be with the kids? I'm interested to know if the reduction in traffic might in part also be due to less people driving to work. I'd hazard a guess that this happens more in the summer breaks.

Let me know what you think.



16th Feb 2004, 17:55
Okay, here goes.

1) Not in my manor (SE London), apart from private schools.

2) Mrs Angels does the school run with our 10-year old son and six year old daughter. We give another child a lift as well.

There is a London Transport bus that runs close to the school. The first time our son tried it he was propositioned at the bus stop near his school in broad daylight by a perv who had to be chased off by a couple of public-spirited citizens.

3) Yes. It doesn't affect traffic flow though as I use public transport to and from work.

From my days of driving to work (over 25 years ago now) I fully agree that driving is a lot better without the school run.

16th Feb 2004, 18:11
It's not just a "local" problem. Regular users of the M3 will know that, on a typical Monday morning at about 07:15hrs, a north-bound queue builds up around J4, which can extend back to the Fleet services - 3-4 miles?

This morning, no sign of the queue at 08:00hrs. So why does the absence of the "school run" affect motorway traffic? As X-QUORK says, does it mean that many parents are taking the week off?

16th Feb 2004, 18:19
Absence of my boss would seem to indicate that parents do take the time off in half-term :)

Also evidenced by the fact that package holidays are vastly more expensive at this time.

Also, if parent drives their sprog to school such that sprog gets there at 9:00 (say) and parent gets to work at 9:30, when it is half term, parent will continue to get to work at 9:30 (after having a lie-in)!! Therefore, roads at 8:30 to 9:00 less busy !!

Not an issue for me since I can walk to work ;)



16th Feb 2004, 18:22
There is also a lot of pressure being applied by schools to discourage kids going on holiday in term time.

16th Feb 2004, 18:59
I do not have a big experience of UK driving conditions, but I don't see why same causes would not produce same effects.

Traffic congestion is a very non-linear effect, hence decreasing the number of cars by something like 5 or 10% may produce a very visible effect if you are close to congested traffic on a normal basis.

16th Feb 2004, 19:15

Granted the reduction in traffic might only be 5-10% over a 24 hour period, but in the hour between 8am and 9am is probably much higher.

16th Feb 2004, 19:23
On point 1.

I attended school 70's/80's and went by bus. The bus was organised by the parents, not the school/local authority so I suspect today the problem is that parents cannot be bothered with this when they can just take the children in the car.

16th Feb 2004, 20:51
School buses still seem to run round here, Worcestershire/Gloucestershire, a mix of single/double decker so transporting quite a lot of kids.

I believe the traffic is reduced by a greater amount in half term holidays, because schools in the same areas tend to have the same week off and a higher proportion of parents will be off at the same time, as opposed to summer holidays when parents can choose one of six or seven weeks to have off.

Annoyingly I am unable to preserve my supercilious air when cruising past lines of traffic on my pushbike during half term as the motors are all moving faster. However I take comfort in the reduced chance of being mangled in the traffic.

When I was a kid I had to ride my bike to school, a habit that appears to have stuck.

16th Feb 2004, 22:01
School buses are still here in Lancs too, great fleets of double deckers are around, stuffed to the gills with the little brats!! :)

16th Feb 2004, 22:44
Best place for them. Better at least than them on the streets shouting obscenities at me. The little :mad:

Shaggy Sheep Driver
16th Feb 2004, 23:33
Annoyingly I am unable to preserve my supercilious air when cruising past lines of traffic on my pushbike during half term as the motors are all moving faster. However I take comfort in the reduced chance of being mangled in the traffic.

When I used to cycle to work (gave up when I had one too many close encounters with Volvoman:( ) I prefered the traffic not to be moving - they can't squash you when they are static:)

My kids go to school in Mrs SSD's car, about 1.5 miles. Busses and taxis are used for kids living further out from the school. When I went to scool in the 60s I used to cycle or use train and bus (about 8 miles each way).

So why do my kids not walk/cycle to school? It's mainly because of the massive amount of kit they have to carry about. When I was at school we had a form room, and our own desks with our books in it. The teachers came to us for each lesson, with the exception of Physics and Chemistry where we treked to the relevant lab. The only stuff I had to transport between school and home was homework-related stuff - fitted in me bike saddlebag or satchell.

My kids have no permanent desk at school - they move around all day from one lesson to the next. There are lockers, but insufficient to go around, and the scallies have smashed the locks off so you wouldn't want to leave anything in there anyway. So they have to carry evrything around with them; books, textbooks, writing stuff, musical instruments (Clarinet, Violin, and Sax in their cases), sports kit etc. And it all has to travel twixt home and school each day.

Times change - kids go by car 'cause (unlike in my day) they have to. And that's evolved, like just-in-time deliveries to supermarkets instead of each supermarket having a once-a-day delivery to a storeroom, because road travel is cheap and available.

It's the same reason why, in my dad's time, people caught the train to work in the nearby city or maybe drove there and left the car in a city car park all day. After 9 am the roads were empty 'cause evryone was at work. Now they live anywhere and drive to where they need to go - because they can. And the roads are packed all day. It's the way we live today, schoolkids included.


17th Feb 2004, 03:01
Half the time to get to work maybe - because the smeggers were all on the M6, that's why !

Spent two hours in jams yesterday, and all the service stations today were running amok with the little darlings . . . gnarr gnarrr arrghghghg ! :mad:

Straight Up Again
17th Feb 2004, 06:11
Don't know about traffic, but in Melbourne it's a lot quieter on the trams (St Kilda Road). Less of the annoying little gits to block up the doorways.

I do feel sorry for some of them (especially the smaller kids, because of the amount of stuff they cart around. The main kids I see have a large backpack (always full, at least 30, normally 50 cm deep) that makes them look like turtles, although I think the school tells them to use both shoulder straps, to avoid back damage. They then carry instruments, and a separate gym kit back (small holdall) and sometimes a laptop case. The kids themselves take up a lot of room, but the amount of baggage is stupid, especially when they try to move around the packed tram.