Home to School Transport Information and FAQs

Information on school transport for pupils attending mainstream schools and FE Colleges, including Translink services.

Translink Services

New Translink Customers

  1. Check Transport Eligibility: You can use our Transport Eligibility Checker to find out if your child will be eligible for transport to a mainstream school.
     
  2. Submit Online Application: Once eligibility is checked, then you must make an online application for transport assistance, which will be based on your child’s circumstances (i.e. admissions preferences and distance to school) and any changes to school provision that might affect eligibility (e.g. school closures, amalgamations).
     
  3. Application Processed: Your application will be processed, and final transport arrangements will be emailed to you within 20 working days. 
     
  4. Collection of pass: We aim to deliver all passes to schools/ colleges within 10-14 working days after you receive final transport arrangements. Passes are not sent to home address.

Further information on eligibility criteria can be found in our Frequently Asked Questions section.

Existing Translink Customers

If your child is currently in receipt of transport assistance, then you are not required to make a new application every year the pass will roll over year on year and will be forwarded to the school or college for collection as normal.

  • Change of Details: If you move house or school throughout the year you must make a new application from your new address / school and return your pass to the locality office for cancellation.
  • Lost Bus Pass: To purchase a replacement pass please contact the Translink Pupil Pass Office on Tel: 028 9035 4074.
  • Translink Bus Timetable: For further bus timetable information, including dedicated school services visit the Translink website.  

If you are not eligible for transport please visit the Translink website to explore further options.

If you require further assistance please contact us.

Mainstream Services on EA Fleet

Mainstream Services on EA Fleet

If your child has been awarded a seat on an EA mainstream service you do not need to reapply each year.  Your child’s details will remain on the drivers schedule unless the school advise us of any changes.

All services are reviewed annually and are subject to change at the discretion of the Authority, however we endeavour to operate these services with minimum disruption so you should arrange to present for transport at the normal pick up time and point unless you have received correspondence directly from the Transport service.

If you require further assistance please contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions

Transport Eligibility and Assistance to Mainstream Schools

What is transport assistance?

The Education Authority provides transport assistance for eligible pupils to facilitate their attendance at a grant aided school.

Eligibility for transport assistance is determined by the Department of Education’s transport policy -  Circular 1996/41, (updated September 2009).

There are different types of transport assistance. EA decides what type of transport to award based on your child’s needs and our commitment to use resources efficiently.  Parents/Carers remain responsible for ensuring their child attends school and getting them to a designated bus stop.

Information for FE students and students with a statement of special educational needs who have a special transport need are outlined in the section 'Transport Assistance for Pupils with Special Educational Needs' on this page

Who is eligible for transport assistance?

You can check if you’re eligible using the Transport Eligibility Checker.

Pupils are eligible for transport assistance to a grant-aided school if they are compulsory school age, in full-time education and:

  1. Attend a primary school that is more than 2 miles from your home, or a post primary school that is more than 3 miles from your home.

 AND

  1. You applied but were unable to gain a place in any/all “suitable schools” (i.e. a school of the same category), that are within these distances of your home.

A suitable school is defined in DE policy and is a school from one of the following categories:

Primary

Secondary & Grammar

Controlled

Catholic Maintained

Integrated or other voluntary

Irish Medium

Controlled

Catholic Maintained

Integrated or other voluntary

Irish Medium

Denominational Grammar

Non-denominational Grammar

Further details on arrangements for bi-lateral schools are outlined within a later FAQ.

The same arrangements apply to pupils attending schools within the ‘Dickson Plan’ area.

If there is no suitable school within the above distances from your home, you are entitled to transport assistance to any school from that category.  However, choosing a further away school could result in having access to fewer or less convenient transport options and the EA is not obliged to create new routes for small numbers of, or individual, pupils. EA also reserves the right to award transport assistance in the form of a parental payment.

Who is not eligible?

The EA cannot take into account other factors such as parental income, access to alternative transport, working patterns, medical needs of others in the household, curriculum or post-16 offering, assumptions made due to historical intake patterns or personal preference for a single-sex or co-educational school.

Pupils are also not entitled to transport assistance if:

  • They live less than 2 miles from their primary school or 3 miles from their post primary school
  • Their school is beyond these distances, but when applying for a school place schools from the same category within these distances were put lower in order of preference.
  • They are attending a (tuition) fee-paying school
  • They are below the compulsory school age and not in full time education.
  • They turned 19 on or before 1st July in that same year.

If your child is not eligible for transport assistance, you may wish to explore what public transport service are offered by Translink.

How do we measure the distance to your school?

We use a Geographical Information System (GIS) to measure the “nearest available route”.  As it can include footpaths and other pathways, as well as roads, it can vary from online calculations or a driven route. 

We do not accept any other form of measurement such as Google, milometers etc and cannot consider any perceived concerns about travelling through any area.

Due to the accuracy of our GIS system assistance there are no exceptions made where the distance is only marginally under the qualifying distance.

Children who reside in the Republic of Ireland, but attend a school in Northern Ireland, will be assessed from the nearest suitable collection point in Northern Ireland.

What types of transport assistance are available?

There are different types of transport assistance and the Education Authority will decide what form of assistance is provided, taking into account a pupil’s needs and our commitment to use resources efficiently.   

Transport assistance can take the form of:

  • EA bus service
  • Translink travel pass - for use on bus or rail
  • Private hire bus
  • Parental Payment
  • Private hire taxi

Wherever possible and appropriate we transport pupils on an existing bus service.  Taxi provision will only be considered where it is absolutely necessary to meet the specific needs of a pupil, or there is no other feasible alternative. The EA retains the right to provide transport assistance in the form of a parental payment at any time and we are not required to introduce additional routes for small numbers of pupils or individuals.

Do I need to apply?

Yes.  Parents are responsible for making an application on behalf of their child at the earliest opportunity and in a timely manner.  Assistance, including parental payments, will not be backdated for previous years if a parent applies in the later years of their child’s attendance at a school and they are found to be eligible for transport assistance. Parents should allow up to 20 working days for an application to be processed and the Education Authority is not responsible for any transport costs incurred by parents in the intervening period.

The Education Authority is not liable for payment of any assistance costs or reimbursement of transport costs prior to the award of transport assistance. 

TRANSPORT APPLICATIONS HERE

What are the arrangements for bi-lateral schools?

The following applies to DE approved bi-lateral schools; namely Lagan College, Slemish College, Ballymena, St Killian’s College Carnlough, St Patrick’s College Maghera and Holy Cross College, Strabane.

  • Pupils admitted to the grammar stream will be eligible for transport assistance if they live outside statutory qualifying distance and have been unable to gain admission to any/all other grammar schools/stream within their chosen category within the qualifying distance.
  • Parents whose children obtain admission to the grammar stream MUST provide written evidence from the school that their child has been accepted into the grammar stream. This essential information MUST be submitted to your local Transport Office with your online application reference number; otherwise it will be treated as an application for transport assistance to the all ability stream.
  • Pupils gaining entry on an all-ability basis will be treated in the same way as those attending other secondary schools within their chosen category.

What if I have shared custody of my child?

Where a Court Order stipulates that a child should be resident at two addresses, transport will be provided from the primary address as per the criteria outlined previously and the secondary address will be treated as follows:

  1. Pupils will be eligible for transport assistance from their secondary address if it is beyond the qualifying distance from their school and either of the following circumstances applies:
    1. They were eligible from their primary address; or
    2. They are attending their nearest suitable school to their primary address, but it was under the qualifying distance.
       
  2. Pupils will not be eligible for transport assistance from their secondary address, regardless of distance, if they are not eligible from their primary address because they bypassed any/all suitable school(s) within the qualifying distance.

Whilst a Court Order will be requested in the first instance, it is recognised that many arrangements between parents are now agreed on an informal basis. In these circumstances transport will request confirmation of the arrangements in writing from both parents and will be assessed on the same basis as above.   

Should there be changes to these arrangements parents are obliged to notify the EA and eligibility may be re-assessed.

Please note that transport assistance from the secondary address could be via a range of means, including parental payment.

Transport Assistance for Further Education Colleges

I previously attended a Special School and had a statement of special educational needs. Can I apply online if I am now attending a Further Education College?

If you leave an Education Authority approved school your statement will automatically cease. You must apply for transport assistance via the online application process, as part of your application you can let us know if you require alternative transport arrangements. Please note students are not eligible for transport assistance if they have turned 19 on or before 1st July in that same year.

Am I eligible for transport assistance to my Further Education Course?

Transport will only be awarded to students who meet the following criteria:

  • The course followed is a full-time course.
  • The distance from your permanent home address to the College in which you are enrolled/registered exceeds 3 miles.
  • The course attended is at the closest Further Education College to the home address.
  • Transport assistance is not available for the incoming college session if the student's 19th birthday is attained on or before 1st July.
  • The student/course is not eligible for student loan assessment.

Students can apply directly once their place at College is confirmed and the above eligibility criteria is met by registering on EA Connect and selecting the ‘student’ role at registration.

If you require assistance, a parent or guardian can apply for Further Education transport assistance on your behalf providing the eligibility criteria is met.

EA Connect provides ‘parent’ and ‘student’ user types. Parents may previously be registered on EA Connect to apply for a child’s school place or to complete an SEN annual review.

If you are not eligible for an Education Authority Bus Pass you may wish to consider other options available from Translink for purchase. Information on the different products offered by Translink can be found at Translink Tickets and Travel Cards or alternatively you can phone the Translink Contact Centre on 02890666630 for more information on Best Value Products.

Information on school services, including timetables can be found on the Translink website School Services.

What user role (student, parent or both) do I select at registration?

EA Connect allows different user types depending on the type of EA Service you are applying for.

New users of EA Connect

If you are a student applying for Further Education transport assistance, please select the Student role type at registration and enter your details.

If you are a parent applying on behalf of your child who is attending a Further Education College and requires transport assistance, please select Parent role type and enter your details at registration.  Once registered you can add your child’s details and apply for transport assistance to College.

Existing users of EA Connect

If you have an existing account registered on EA Connect and have used the service for Admissions or SEN Annual Reviews and you wish to apply for Further Education transport assistance on behalf of your child, you can log into EA connect using your registered details and navigate to the menu heading ‘Further Education Transport’ Tab and add your child’s details.

If you have an existing account registered on EA Connect and have used the service for Admissions or SEN Annual Reviews as a parent and you wish to apply for Further Education transport assistance for you as a student, you can log into EA connect using the email address already registered.

To apply for transport assistance, please update your details under the ‘my information’ menu and select both ‘parent’ and ‘student’ user types. When both are selected, you will be prompted to add the details of your course and college.

What documents do I need to upload with my application?

If any additional details or supporting documents are required, the Education Authority will email you to request this information.

What if the course in my closest college is full and I have to attend a further away college?

If the course you are wanting to study is at full capacity in a closer college you may attend a further away college and provided all other criteria is met you may be entitled to transport assistance. The Authority will require documentary evidence from your closer College to be provided as part of your application.

If I do not meet the transport assistance criteria can I appeal?

Yes, you may appeal the Authority’s decision. For more information, Please visit the Transport Appeals page.

If I am eligible for transport assistance to my Further Education Course where is my nearest boarding point?

Queries regarding boarding stages on Translink service routes should be made to your local Translink depot. Or alternatively contact the Translink Helpline at 02890 666630. Please do not contact the Authority regarding Translink boarding stages as they will be unable to assist in this area.

Please Note:

Where the journey can be covered by more than one mode of public transport, the maximum assistance will be one sessional pass e.g. one Ulsterbus pass or one Northern Ireland Railway pass, not both. The Authority must consider public expenditure when deciding the most appropriate mode of transport. If the journey at either end of the nearest boarding/alighting point exceeds the statutory distance the Authority will consider alternative provision. It should be recognised that in such instances the Authority is unable to consider additional expenditure if there is/are suitable college/s closer to home and transport is available.

What do I do if I incur travel expenses before I receive my pass?

The Education Authority accepts there is settling in period when students are collecting their travel passes. Drivers should be flexible in the first weeks about allowing students on board without their pass. However, if you are eligible and have had to pay for bus or rail tickets in September or October because you have not received your Translink travel pass you can apply to reclaim these costs from Translink as follows:

  1. Metro, Ulsterbus and Northern Ireland Rail claims are submitted to Translink Pass Office, Floor 1, 22 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT2 7LX. A claim form can be obtained from your College Reception.
  2. Any claim for travel expenses must be submitted within 18 working days from the date of issue of the student's 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.

Students who make an application for transport assistance after 31 October will not have their fares reimbursed unless there has been an unacceptable delay on the part of the Authority in processing the application. If this is the case receipts for these fares should be retained and forwarded to the appropriate Transport Office of the Authority for reimbursement.

What happens if I lose my Translink pass?

If a student loses a Translink travel pass, to get a replacement pass the student needs to get an interim educational ticket from their college reception. They need to post the white component of the ticket to the Translink Pass Office, Floor 1, 22 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT2 7LX - 028 9035 4074 with the appropriate fee determined by Translink. A passport photograph is required.

Where do I collect my Translink pass?

Translink passes (Ulsterbus, Metro and Northern Ireland Railway), and Ferry passes are hand delivered or sent recorded delivery to the College at the start of term. Students are required to sign for and collect their passes from the College office. No passes will be sent to a student's home address.

Please allow up to 20 working days for processing if you apply during the academic year.

What if I no longer need transport assistance?

In the event of a student who is already in receipt of a Translink sessional pass or an EA bus pass, and no longer requires their pass, they must return their original pass to their attended College or Transport Office.

Will bus times cater for College timetables?

The Education Authority's obligation is to provide services to arrive and depart educational institutions as close as possible to the start and finish times of a normal school day. While we understand some Colleges run evening courses and course timetables do not follow the conventional school day, the Authority is not able to accommodate these circumstances.

For Further Education students travelling on Translink Services, passes are valid for 1 journey in each direction until 9.30pm, the forward journey must be made before noon. Monday to Friday only, excluding school holidays.

Translink services are published on their website.

Are there days when transport does not operate?

There are non-operational days throughout the academic year when transport does not operate. We advise schools/Colleges of these dates in the preceding school year and publish these on our website. If a school or College chooses to open on a non-operational day it is their responsibility to notify parents/students that transport is not operating that day.

Can I travel to College via the Strangford/Rathlin ferry service?

If you are eligible for transport assistance and require ferry travel as part of your journey to College, this will be automatically processed for you as part of your online application.

Can I access the application and support resources in different languages?

Translation support is available when applying for Further Education Tranpsort assistance.

EA Connect incorporates ReachDeck - a web accessibility tool allowing you to customise our website in the way that works best for you.

To access the application, support resources or video transcripts in multiple languages, please click on the ReachDeck (orange) icon on the EA website and EA Connect portal to select your language preference.

For more information on how to use ReachDeck.

Common Transport Questions

Will my child be collected from home?

It’s not practical for over 90,000 children to be collected from their home each day, but of course some may live on or adjacent to their bus route.

As per DE policy EA is not obliged to provide door to door transport and parents can be expected to get their child to/from a bus stop or collection point. 

The distance to your bus stop should not exceed 2 miles for primary pupils and 3 miles for post primary pupils.  If you are concerned the distance to your bus stop exceeds this, contact the Transport Service who will investigate further.

Where does my child collect their Translink pass?

Translink passes (Ulsterbus, Metro and NIR), and Ferry passes are delivered or sent recorded delivery to the school at the start of term.  Pupils are required to sign for and collect their passes from the school office. No passes will be sent to the pupil's home address.

Please allow up to 20 working days for processing if you apply during the school year.  If a pupil loses a Translink travel pass you should contact Translink for a replacement.  A fee may be charged.

Can my child be collected/ dropped off at another address?

Applications for transport assistance to or from another address other than that of the registered parent is considered fraudulent and EA cannot facilitate collection/drop off from another address e.g. a childminders, after schools or grandparents. 

What if my child lives in the Republic of Ireland?

Eligibility for pupils living in the Republic of Ireland is assessed on the same criteria as pupils who live in Northern Ireland, as identified in the Department of Education Circular 1996/41 (Link).  However, whilst the route measured will be via the nearest available route from your home to the preferred school, the distance calculated will only be taken from the nearest suitable collection point  in Northern Ireland on that route to the preferred school.

What if my child doesn’t need transport assistance any longer?

In the event of a pupil who is already in receipt of a Translink sessional pass or an EA bus pass, and no longer requires their pass, they must return their original pass to their attended school or Local Transport Office.

What do I do if my child is moving to another different school to attend sixth form?

You must  make a new application for transport assistance and you will be assessed in line with DE policy to the new school.  You can check your eligibility here.

Pupils who attended a school without a sixth form and who wish to proceed to sixth form after year 12 must attempt to enroll at any/all suitable schools in their chosen category that are within the 3 mile qualifying distance prior to being granted transport assistance to a further away school.

What if I want my child to go to a fee paying school?

Campbell College and Royal Belfast Academical Institution

Whilst Campbell College and Royal Belfast Academical Institution are voluntary grammar schools, they are referred to in the Department of Education Circular 1996/41 as Category B school as they require parents to pay tuition fees (this is different from schools who seek voluntary contributions). The Circular advised that there is no obligation on parents to seek a place in these voluntary grammar schools within statutory qualifying distance of a pupil’s home. 

Pupils outside the statutory qualifying distance of, and who wish to attend these schools must, however, demonstrate that they were unable to gain a place in any/all non-denominational grammar school(s) within 3 miles of their home if they are to qualify for transport assistance.

What if my child is moving home or school?

You are required to re-apply for transport assistance and return any previous travel pass to your local Transport Office. You will then be assessed against DE eligibility criteria i.e. distance and nearest suitable school.

If you are attending a school that is beyond the qualifying distance (2 miles for Primary Schools or 3 miles for Post Primary Schools) you must provide evidence from the Principal of all nearest suitable school(s) that you formally applied for a place and that the school did not have a place for your child/children.  Retrospective evidence i.e. a statement indicating that a school would not have accepted your child but you did not formally apply will not be accepted.

All written evidence should be forwarded to your local Transport Office with your online application reference number.

If a pupil moves house or school (outside of the normal transfer to Yr 1 and Yr 8) parents MUST make a new transport application.

Applications will be assessed against the criteria outlined in the Department of Education (DE) Transport policy

Parents should therefore be aware that if a pupil moves school, but does not move house, we will refer to the admissions preferences expressed at the time of transfer when assessing the application.  If parents have chosen to bypass a suitable school within the qualifying distance at that time, they will remain ineligible for transport assistance to a school beyond this distance.   

Parents should also note that transport policy makes no exceptions for those parents who disregard the requirement to apply to all suitable school(s) within the qualifying distance of a pupil’s home including on the basis of:

  • An assumption their child would not secure a place in the school(s)
  • Potential or proposed future changes to school provision (e.g. school closure, amalgamation).  Particularly where there is no formal decision by the Department of Education.

Preference for a school beyond the qualifying distance that prioritises pupils on the basis of their order of preference on their application.

Is my child eligible for alternative transport assistance for a medical issue?

Where a child who is currently in receipt of Home to School Transport Assistance is unable to attend school by means of the current transport provision due to a medical need and you are unable to make your own alternative travel arrangements, we may offer alternative assistance.

Further information and access to the Online Application can be found here.

 

What if there are other siblings getting transport assistance?

Eligibility for transport assistance will be assessed according to the criteria and systems in place at the time of application which in some cases may differ to those applied in the past.  Parents are advised to use the Transport Eligibility Checker to determine each child’s entitlement to transport assistance.

When applying for Transport Assistance it is important that you advise us if there are other siblings already in receipt of transport assistance.  This is so the Authority can try to ensure that siblings are awarded the same mode of transport and, where possible and appropriate, travel on the same vehicle.

What if we have been forced to relocate?

Refer to the Exceptional Circumstances section on the Transport Appeals page.

What if I have a looked after child?

A child is ‘looked after’ if they are in the care of the local authority for more than 24 hours.  Legally, this could be when they are: living in accommodation provided by the local authority with the parents’ agreement or be the subject of an interim or full care order.

It is the responsibility of Social Services to make contact with the Transport Division regarding a ‘looked after’ child.

While the Authority has a statutory duty to provide transport assistance for eligible pupils, this consideration is from the permanent home address to the school only. 

Each case will be assessed on an individual basis.

What if my child gets expelled from school?

What if I want to appeal the assessment of eligibility?

For more information of the grounds to appeal our assessment of your eligibility please go to the transport appeals page.

Do escorts travel as standard?

Escorts travel as standard on services to special schools. Escorts are only provided on other services where is has been identified as a special transport need on the pupil’s statement of educational needs.

Who provides a car seat if it is required?

Car seats are not required on buses unless it has been identified that your child requires a particular car seat in order to travel on the bus. If a pupil travels on a private hire vehicle, the seat is provided by the Operator.

Do primary and post primary aged children travel together?

Many of our services will be just for primary school pupils or post primary pupils, however some services will have children from both primary and post primary on board.

Is transport available for phased attendance or early finish?

The school transport network is designed to align with the opening and closing times of schools. Where a school decides to operate a phased attendance at the start of a school term, release younger children earlier or close early they should advise parents that they may have to make their own transport arrangements as appropriate.

How do I find out if a route is operating?

We work hard to minimise disruption but EA bus routes can be disrupted at extremely short notice.  It is not feasible to notify individual families, so parents should visit Transport Updates  after 6pm each day for details of EA bus routes that we know will not operate the following day.  We also work with schools to share information and Private Operators may also notify parents.  Where a service cannot operate parents are asked to make alternative arrangements and EA will do all it can to put alternative arrangements in place as soon as possible. 

Can I be compensated if a service is disrupted?

Whilst we would sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused to pupils and their families, there is no legal basis for payment of compensation or costs if services are disrupted.

Concessionary Travel

The Education Authority may offer unused seats on EA buses or private hire buses to pupils who are attending their nearest suitable school but live under the qualifying distance, where it does not disadvantage eligible pupils or result in unreasonable public expenditure. The EA is under no obligation to create, vary or alter routes to accommodate pupils in receipt of concessionary transport.

Concessionary transport is discretionary and will only be assigned when the EA is satisfied it has arrangements in place for all eligible pupils.  As such, concessionary seats will typically not be awarded prior to the end of October each year and cannot be guaranteed for the start of September, even where it has been available in the previous academic year or where siblings already avail of the service.

Concessionary seats are not awarded on a permanent basis and are awarded at the Education Authority’s discretion. Concessionary seats will typically be reviewed annually and can be withdrawn by the Authority at any time if required.

Travel Safety and Behaviour

Safe School Transport

EA supports Translink’s new safety campaign ‘Play it Safe’ in partnership with the Irish Football Association and Ulster GAA. ‘Play it Safe’ delivers a series of important messages to promote responsible behaviour when using or around public transport.

More information can be found at Play it Safe

For all the latest campaign action follow @Translink_NI#PlayItSafeNI

The EA also continues to support Department of Infrastructure Road Safety campaigns, such as the ‘Be Safe Be Seen’ campaign throughout the year and would urge parents/ guardians to remind children and young people to wear reflective clothing to help motorists see pupils from a distance, especially during dark mornings and evenings.

The EA would also urge all parents to exercise caution and to ensure the safety of children on their journey to and from school and encourage parents to follow DFI road safety guidance.

Road safety leaflets

Bus safety

Bus safety (post primary) leaflet and presentation

'Be safe, be seen' leaflet

DfI also provide a range of Road Safety Education Resources for primary and post primary school children.

Road safety education resources

Safe School Travel Checklist

Here are some important points to remember before embarking on your school journey:

  • Think safety – heads up, screens down and earphones out!
  • Wear or carry something REFLECTIVE i.e. armbands, tags which can be seen by drivers using headlights up to three times as far away as non-reflective materials.
  • Wear your seatbelt.
  • Stand back from the kerb and look left and right before crossing the road.
  • Allow the bus driver to focus on driving.
  • Stay alert when using transport especially getting on/ off services. Stay visible & vigilant – do not get distracted.  Always remain in clear view of the bus driver; do not walk in front of or behind a bus.
  • Follow safety advice, stay behind the yellow line on platforms and follow safety notices and announcements – NEVER use tracks as a shortcut.
  • Don’t put anyone at risk.

Provision of School Transport Services during Severe Weather

In periods of bad weather it is necessary to take extra precautions to ensure that the safety of pupils is not compromised.  It is not possible to provide precise instructions to cover every eventually; the link below provides information to reflect ‘good practice’ for schools, parents/ guardians and providers of Home to School transport which should, if followed, ensure children’s safety.

 EA - Transport in Adverse Weather

What if my child misbehaves on the bus?

The Education Authority needs parents’ support to reinforce the standards of behaviour and discipline that are expected on transport.  Misbehaviour and vandalism place other pupils’ and staff’s safety at risk and can impact services from running.  

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”.

Pupils will also be expected to follow any government or public health regulations.

EA Home to School Transport Behaviour Policy

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 for the protection of staff and pupils.

EA - Procedure for the use of Closed Circuit Television Policy

How do I find out my EA bus timetable?

If you are taking an EA bus we will confirm your collection and pick up times and locations and it is parents’ responsibility to ensure their child is there on time.  We do our best to make sure these times are accurate but there can be delays due to traffic, weather or vehicle problems.

Will bus times cater for after school activities or earlier finish times?

EA’s obligation is to provide service to arrive and leave school as close as possible to the start and finish times of the normal school day.  While we understand some schools opt to release some pupils, particularly younger pupils, earlier EA does not provide multiple pick-ups at the same school.

Where a school finishes early, for example, at the end of term, they should consult with the transport service to confirm if this can be accommodated and if not, they must advise parents.

School transport services are not scheduled to accommodate after school activities, though pupils using Translink services may find there is a suitable service available.  Parents are responsible for making their own arrangements if their child is unable to use their allocated transport due to attendance at after-school activities. 

Translink schedules are published on their website.

Are there days when transport does not operate?

There are non-operational days throughout the school year when school transport does not operate. We advise schools of these dates in the preceding school year and publish these on our website.

If a school chooses to open on a non-operational day it is the school’s responsibility to notify parents that school transport is not operating that day.

Can I request a different type of transport assistance?

The Education Authority will decide which form of transport assistance is awarded.  We must use the most cost effective means of transport available so we will always award seats on EA and Translink bus services wherever possible. 

A parental payment will only be awarded in place of another form of transport where a parent can provide evidence that the bus provision made available does not meet the requirements of DE policy

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

If you are eligible for Transport Assistance and require a Ferry Pass, please request this in the ‘Additional Information’ Section of your online application.  

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

EA accepts there is settling in period when pupils are collecting their travel passes.  Drivers should be flexible in the first weeks of September about allowing pupils on board without their pass.  However, if you are eligible and have not received your pass within 20 days and have had to pay for bus or rail tickets in September or October you can apply to reclaim these costs 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 student’s 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 an application for transport assistance after 31 October will not have their fares reimbursed unless there has been an unacceptable delay on the part of the Authority in processing the application.  If this is the case receipts for these fares should be retained and forwarded to the appropriate Local Transport Office of the Authority for reimbursement.

Last updated: 01/02/2024