Welcome as Education Authority to revise bus service for pupils forced to wait two hours to get home from school

Maghery pupils attending Portadown’s St John the Baptist’s College will not longer have a lengthy wait for a bus after school after lobbying by local politicians.

Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 10:15 am

Most pupils from Maghery, which is seven miles outside Portadown, had to wait almost two hours before their bus came to take them home.

However SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly lobbied the Education Authority which has agreed to revise and improve the service.

A spokesperson for the Education Authority (EA) said: “The EA has worked closely with Translink and is pleased to confirm that a revised and improved service schedule has been identified for pupils travelling from Portadown to Maghery.

Pupils of St John the Baptist's College from the Maghery Area who are forced to wait until almost 5pm to get a bus home each day. INPT47-203.

“Planning for school restart is currently underway and details of school service timings will be confirmed as soon as possible.”

The Upper Bann MLA said she is delighted to receive confirmation that the home to school transport service to reduce the waiting time for ten young pupils from Maghery will now be put in place.

Just before Christmas, Mrs Kelly voiced her frustration at the Education Authority and had referred the matter to the Children’s Commissioner with the help of the parents.

She said: “Pupils had to wait for almost up to two hours for a bus home from school, this was unacceptable by any standard.

“I welcome the response that I have now received from the Education Authority which said ‘negotiations resumed after Christmas, it was agreed that a service would be introduced to drastically reduce waiting times in the afternoon. Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 it had been intended that this service would be introduced and monitored in the final term of 19/20’.

Mrs Kelly added: “Work is on-going between the Education Authority and Translink to assess the impact of social distancing however; it is their intention to have this route in place when the home to school transport network is able to operate at full capacity.

“This unacceptable time for school children to be waiting one and a half hours falls far short of any reasonable public standards and I am delighted a resolution has now been found.”

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