Walking Bus launched in Parow Valley

The Walking Bus, which protects children on their way to and from school, was officially launched in Parow Valley last week.

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, whose department started the province-wide project in May last year, said the bus volunteers also helped to curb truancy and crime.

Parow Valley’s bus has been running informally for just over a year after the neighbourhood watch called for volunteers to help children to class safely.

The volunteers were stationed at the De La Rey bridge, the scene of several muggings (“Bridge patrol makes daily walk safer”, Northern News, May 3).

Mr Plato, who lives in Parow, warned residents that some “big gangsters” lived in the area “where it is more comfortable”.

Residents and neighbourhood watch members Mary Petersen and Michael Goosen have volunteered their time for over a year to ensure the safety of people crossing De La Rey bridge.

They hope more people will join the bus initiative so they can start another shift.

Joe Malie, chairman of the Parow Valley Neighbourhood Watch, said a lot more work needed to be done to expand the project.

“Thank you for bringing it to Parow Valley and to this community,” he said.

The principal of Parow Primary School, Natley Marinus, said a meeting would be called with the parents to get more people involved.

“We’re going to make it a success,” she said.

There are 50 Walking Bus initiatives across the province, according to Jermaine Andrews, from the Department of Community Safety.

She said there were plans to accredit the buses with the Department of Community Safety in the same way neighbourhood watches were, and have them run by the watches.

“It tends to bring the neighbourhood together. We ask you to take ownership of it,” Ms Andrews said.