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Who'd choose to take the bus?

When it comes to school buses, it is not surprising when three bits of bad news arrive at once. One, the Commons transport select committee, reports the "unacceptable" state of affairs forcing schoolchildren to ride on the oldest, grottiest and most dangerous buses on the road. Two, the Department for Education and Skills, shockingly, does not know its requirement for education authorities to secure "best-value" school transport contracts is often interpreted to mean "cheapest". Three, children see buses as "a low-grade means of transport for people with no choice", according to the Confederation of Passenger Transport.

Obviously, safety is essential, and the select committee rightly calls on the Government to set minimum national standards. But image is important, too. If we want tomorrow's adults to be ecology-conscious and use public transport, we should make sure the bus is an appealing way to travel.

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