Home to school transport

The Education Authority has a statutory responsibility for the provision of transport assistance to facilitate attendance at a grant-aided school of pupils for whom fees are not paid and who are resident in Northern Ireland. This guide aims to help you navigate the transport application process.

General Information on Travel, Safety and Behaviour

What about road safety?

There are potential road safety hazards and dangers on all roads whether in a rural or urban setting, but it is a matter for the parent to determine whether a route is either safe or dangerous for a pupil to transverse.  It is assumed that the child is accompanied as necessary by a responsible parent or guardian.

It is only in very exceptional circumstances that the Authority would consider a road to present exceptional road safety hazards.

 

Exceptional road safety

The vast majority of the road networks across Northern Ireland covers rural locations and will not have pedestrian footpaths or street lighting and accordingly such circumstances are not considered to be exceptional.  In assessing any whether a road is safe or unsafe the Education Authority follows the criteria laid down by Road Safety GB guidelines, previously Local Authority Road Safety Officers Association (LARSOA).

If you feel that there is an Exceptional Road Safety issue making your route unsuitable please refer the Appeals page for further information.

What if my child misbehaves on the bus?

In providing transport the Authority seeks cooperation from parents in ensuring that their children behave in an acceptable manner.  A similar level of discipline is expected from pupils travelling on all home to school transport as is required by teachers in the classroom. 

The Authority reserves the right to withdraw a pupil from transport arranged by the Authority, pending investigation, where a pupil has behaved in an unacceptable manner as outlined in the Authority’s booklet “Procedure for dealing with Behavioural Problems on Public and Education Authority Transport”.

Does my child have to wear a seatbelt?

Pupils are required by law to wear seatbelts on all School Transport in accordance with seat-belt legislation. 

Is there CCTV on the bus?

CCTV cameras may be operational on vehicles used to transport pupils.

What if the bus times don’t suit my child’s after schools activities?

The Authority’s statutory obligation as set out in the 1996/41 Circular is the provision of home to school transport at normal school hours.  The Authority would advise that transport for all pupils who partake in after school activities is a matter for the school and parents/person(s) with parental responsibility.

What if my child needs to be collected/dropped off at a different location?

You will need to request this directly through the Local Transport Office

Requests will only be considered if the alternate address is within existing transport resources.

What if I want my child to have an Ulsterbus instead of an EA bus?

The Authority must always utilise the most cost effective means of transport available to it.

Where there is an Education Authority (EA) Bus service operating to the school applied to, the Authority will always utilise available seats on that service before choosing another option.

However, in some cases where there is no additional cost to the Authority it may be possible the Authority will consider individual request.  You should contact your Local Transport Office for advice.

What if the bus stop is too far away?

As outlined in the DE Circular the Authority has ‘no obligation to assist with travel for the whole journey, provided that the remainder of the journey does not exceed the statutory qualifying distance – 3 miles in relation to a pupil over 11 years of age’.  In this regard Parents are responsible for facilitating that portion of the journey to meet with the designated services.

Where you feel the remainder of your journey exceeds the statutory qualifying distance contact your Local Transport Office.

Can I get a pass for the Strangford or Rathlin ferry?

If you are eligible for Transport Assistance and require a Ferry Pass to facilitate part of your journey to and from school, request this in the ‘Additional Information’ Section of your online application.  

How do I get a refund for the bus tickets I purchased whilst waiting for my child’s pass?

Pupils who have incurred the cost of public service fares whilst awaiting their sessional pass during the months of September and October should make application for reimbursement from Translink as follows:

  1. Metro, Ulsterbus and NIR claims are submitted to Translink, Account Office, Milewater Road, Belfast.  A claim form can be obtained from your local Translink Depot.
  2. Any claim for travel expenses must be submitted within 18 working days from the date of issue of the students travel pass.  Used tickets must be retained and submitted with relevant claim form;
  3. No refunds from Translink will be accepted for tickets issued after 31 October.

Pupils who make application for transport assistance after 31 October will not have their fares reimbursed unless there has been a delay on the part of the Authority or Translink in processing the application.  Tickets, in respect of these fares paid by the pupil should be retained and forwarded to the appropriate Local Transport Office of the Authority for refund.

What if my child has lost the pass?

Translink Passes
If a pupil loses a Translink travel pass, a duplicate pass may be purchased from Translink Pass Office, Milewater Road, Belfast – 02890 354074, at a cost determined by Translink and must be accompanied by one passport size photograph.

EA Passes
Any queries regarding an EA Bus pass should be directed to your Local Transport Office of the Authority.  

Do you know that your choice and order of preferences could impact on your child’s eligibility for transport assistance?

Last updated: 31/05/2019