Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/08/14/bus_test/

Lad passes gruelling 'getting on bus' test

Surprised teen awarded 'Using Public Transport (Unit 1)' certificate

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 14th August 2009 12:02 GMT

A Bury lad waiting for his GCSE results was somewhat surprised to learn he'd passed exam board AQA's stringent 'Using Public Transport (Unit 1)' test, which honours those able to "walk to the local bus stop, stand or sit at a bus stop, wait for the arrival of a public bus and sit on the bus and observe through the windows".

Bobby McHale, 15, was in fact unaware he'd even sat the test until he got a certificate through the post. He said: "At first I thought I'd got some sort of GCSE early. When I read out the details to the family we all fell about laughing."

It turned out he'd successfully completed the challenge by catching a bus while on a Bury and Rochdale Activity Generation outdoor activities scheme, run by Bury Youth Services. According to the Telegraph, around 300 of his fellow 11 to 15-year-old participants, including some of his mates, were similarly honoured.

Dad Andy, 44, said: "To be honest we are all a little bemused. The Bury Youth Scheme is excellent and I can only suppose this comes from some box they have to tick in order to get funding.

"As part of it Bobby certainly travelled by bus. Maybe it's boosted his confidence because he was nominated as head boy. We think he may go far... so long as he gets the 135!"

Bury's Youth Support Services Manager, Barbara Lewis, defended: "This certificate isn't just about getting on the bus, it's about time management, working out bus routes and for some people, travelling alone for the first time.

"We encourage people to make their own way to the range of activities on offer and work with parents by asking them not to drop them off in the car."

Sadly, Bobby's younger brother Joe, 13, failed Using Public Transport (Unit 1). Bobby concluded: "Maybe he wasn't up to it." ®