The Newham Experience: Busing It!

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1. Scope of Work 1. Methodology 1. Findings 1. Recommendations 1. Q&A

Scope of Work

MSc Social Development Practice of UCL has been commissioned by the Overview and Scrutiny, Newham Borough Council to contribute to research to Regeneration and Transport Mini Scope 2: Reviewing the Bus Network

1. What are the constraints related to social identity and traveling by bus that school students face in: • Getting to and from school • Accessing educational opportunities of choice that are available within the Borough 2. To what extent do current local bus services recognize and cater for these constraints?


Primary Stakeholders
• Newham Young People’s Board • Students

Secondary Stakeholders
• • • • • • Bus drivers Headmaster Tutor Teachers Officer for Safety Education Youth Safety Workers

Sampling: Sex
• Male : 28 • Female : 40 • Total : 68

Sampling: Age by school year
• • • • Year 9 : 13 Year 10 : 13 Year 11 : 22 6th Form : 20

Sampling: Students with disabilities

• • •

Deaf/Hard of hearing : 6 Learning Disability : 3 Physical Disability : 3









• Students in general were open, honest, willing to contribute to discussion; it helped by being in comfortable surroundings they were used to; • Good group sizes – number of researchers to participants; • Students well engaged and willing to help the research team; • Inclusive approach to social identity.


• Lack of control over selection of students for focus groups;
– - With time constraints this was helpful

• Quieter students; – - Gender disaggregated groups

• Students that signed up for focus groups didn’t turn up.


• Coordination with the schools; – - Initial communication – - Unforeseen circumstances • Bus drivers did not drive the designated school routes

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Findings: NewVIc Sixth Form College
• Postcode gangs;
– Limited mobility for young males – Girls experience greater mobility

• Bus drivers;

‘People don’t care about other people on the bus.’

– Limited power to intervene and lack of respect – Considerable power in choosing when to stop/who to let on

• PCSOs;
– Limited powers – Numbers – Prejudice

• Stop and search; • Young people’s consideration of other bus users.

‘when people smile at you on the bus, you feel better.’

Findings: NewVIc Sixth Form College
‘Just because I’m in a hoodie, doesn’t mean I’m a thief. It’s just fashion.’

Age, Gender and Race
•Age discrimination by bus drivers and bus users; •Gender discrimination by bus drivers;

•Lack of communication and interaction between different groups of bus user.

‘Young people are being persecuted for being young.’

Findings: NewVIc Sixth Form College
• Safety concerns not recognised:
– – – – Lack of PCSOs; Bus drivers’ limited power; Bus driver attitudes; Lack of live CCTV on buses.

• Lack of effective complaint mechanism for students.

Research with disabled youth in NewVIc

“People don’t understand what life is until they’re disabled.”
NewVIc student,18 years old

Provision of transport for disabled students
• • • • • Low-income; Migrant families/ language constraints; Unsatisfactory communication; Car ownership/ drivers license; Time management difficulties.

Househo ld Boroug h Schoo l •

• • •

Regular bus; Special needs buses; Resources allocation and policy making.

200 disabled students in NewVic; • Coordinating transport for disabled students; • Coaches for extra curricular activities; • Handling relationship between parents and transport staff.

Findings → Focus → Disabled Students


Long journey Limited schedule

Spe cial Nee ds Bus

Case of Mohamed and Marion

Limited disability awareness of some bus drivers

5 disabled young people were rejected from the special needs bus

Sc ho ol/ E du ca tio n

Difficult to access by wheel Dependence chairs; space Master subtitle style on familyClick to edit constrain and ties and situation bad ramps

Good relationship with the bus drivers

Socialisation, which occurs mainly after classes at college Educational activities (tutoring, library after classes)

R eg ul ar B us

y Fa mil

Lister School Year 10-11
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Findings from Lister Students (Age 14-15)

Findings from Lister Students (Age 14-15)

Findings from Lister Students (Age 14-15)

Findings from Lister Students (Age 14-15)
In relation to social identity, some students noted that:

Findings – Lister Community School
• Most students live in Plaistow or in neighbouring wards; • 18.9% take the bus; • Asked about their preferred mode of transport, only 7.2% said they would take the bus; • Only a minority accesses other educational opportunities in the Borough.

Mobility and Social Identity – Lister

Findings: Lister Community School
Gender • Boys feel vulnerable on the bus, concerned for their safety – mugging, bullying; • Girls state they feel nervous when it gets dark and they are alone at the bus stop  especially problematic during winter months; • Girls feel insecure when stared at and addressed by (older) boys; • Both boys and girls feel intimidated by groups/gangs of older youths (mainly boys).

Findings: Lister Community School
Age • Cross-cutting issue; • Students feel intimidated by older youths;  bullies described as “they’re wild, they shout, they scream and they are older” • “gangs” consist of “mainly boys, aged 14-21” of all races; • Younger students feel compelled to give up seats for older youths; • Thefts committed by older youths.

Findings: Lister Community School
Disability • Student with cochlear implants stared at; • Anecdotal evidence of problem with “freedom pass.”

Findings: Lister Community School
Ethnicity • Hardly mentioned by students; • Anecdote: “other students taking the mickey out of my country [Bangladesh].”

Findings: Lister Community School
General Findings • Bus as a space to relax, chat with friends; • Long waiting times; • Dirty buses, unhygienic; • Misunderstanding of bus rules and regulations regarding overcrowding; • Students would prefer nicer, kinder people on the bus; • Mixed feelings about relationship with drivers;

Findings from Bus Drivers
• •

Younger kids (younger than 12) on bus make lots of loud noise, treat bus as playground;
Play music very loud and get into fights (no racial problem or identity problem involved), Have attitude problems on the bus (e.g., smashing the Oyster Card touching machine), Treat bus as a dust bin, Verbal and physical attacks on the bus driver, e.g. the No. 147 bus driver got violent attacked by several 15~20 year old teenagers, almost died, – Sneak into the bus driver window and take cash from the bus driver box, – No respect for the elders on the bus, push each other to get on the bus, don’t make ways for the elderly. – – – –

Teenagers on the bus;

Bus drivers will look for people on the bus who have special needs, but will avoid too much contact because these people with special needs feel uncomfortable with too much attention;
• •

Disabled kids usually having their own transportation alternative, bus drivers haven’t had much experience with kids on wheelchair.


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Recommendations: Clarity of Rules and Procedures
Stakeholders: Schools (admin and students), TFL, Council, Police

Ø Develop educational campaign: clarity of procedures and rules to students:
– – – – – – Print material, social media; Oyster card use; Behavioural expectations (noise levels, littering); Safety and security; Procedures (full buses, stop requests); Consistent implementation of policies.

Recommendations: Clarity of Rules and Procedures
Stakeholders – TFL, Bus drivers, Schools and Students

Ø Meeting between bus drivers and students:
– Open up dialogue, increase sensitivity and empathy between the two groups; ØDispel stereotypes, – Further clarification of policies and procedures by drivers; – Annual get-to-know you between regular route drivers and school.

Recommendations: Clarity of Rules and Procedures
Stakeholders (Council, general community, TFL, Schools, Students, Parents)

Ø Community meeting:
– Youth, elderly, adults (confronting ageism); – Dispel stereotypes, facilitate understanding and dialogue; – Address issues of safety, respect. Stakeholders: New Vic, Council, Parents, Students

Ø Meetings between above mentioned stakeholders regarding transportation for students with disabilities.

Recommendations: Accessibility
Stakeholder: TFL Ø Re-assessment of ZIP Card Oyster Sard system;
– Yearly updated photos, – Consistency in policy and implementation (enforcement),

Ø Frequency of service;
– More buses to relieve wait times, – School specials during peak times,

Ø Audit ramp capabilities of buses to ensure accessibility; Ø Language;
– Translation assistance, – Provision of multi-lingual information and documentation.

Recommendations: Accessibility
Stakeholder: Council Ø Greater flexibility in bus schedules, such as extension of school services to accommodate after school activities (New Vic); Ø Review route design; - Reduce inefficiencies in bus services for students with disabilities, Ø Specific review of case of five NewVic students rejected from special bus service.

Recommendations: Safety
Stakeholders: TFL, Police, Council, Youth Safety workers, Community police, Schools, Students, Parents

Ø Creation of task force to coordinate (existing) efforts to combat gangs, violence, and muggings on bus; Ø Community policy supervising buses; Ø TFL: Review safety and security policy for passengers, especially re: mugging;
– Specific training for bus drivers, – Silent alarm.

Recommendations: Safety
Stakeholder: TFL, Council, Schools

Ø Increase physical security on bus;
– Specific training for students, e.g. how to de-escalate conflict, – Part of Education Campaign,
• Increase sense of community among passengers via public ad campaign, e.g. “Look out for vulnerable passengers”, community meetings.

Recommendations: Methodology
Ø Students as stakeholders:
– Students in consultation and participation;
• Newham Young People’s Board, • Young Mayor, • Student councils, clubs

– Students assist in formulation of questions (e.g. appropriate language, terms) and interviewing techniques; – Link students with any further opportunities and projects relating to transport, safety, youth, etc.

Recommendations: Methodology
Ø Schools as stakeholders:
– Involve schools as much as possible in the formulation and design of project TOR; – Increase communication and information dissemination between school and council;
• Identify key administrators and teaching staff.

Recommendations: Methodology
Ø Disaggregate further research by gender, ability and age (year):
– Mix between group interviews and individual interviews; – Workshop based focus groups;

Ø Extend scope study to marginalized youth who face difficulties in accessing school (youth).

Areas requiring further research
Ø Gender and safety:
Ø Gender disaggregated research;
• Younger boys (particularly vulnerable to theft), • Girls (comfort zones),

Ø Transportation and after-school activities.

Questions and Answers

Thank you!