Further Education Transport Applications

Online Applications

Online transport applications for students attending College in September 2023 are now available

Eligibility

If you or your child is attending a Further Education Course, transport assistance will only be awarded to students who meet the following criteria:

  • The course followed is a full-time course.
  • The distance from home to the College in which you are enrolled 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 school session if the students 19th birthday is attained on or before 1st July.
  • The student or course is not eligible for student loan assessment.

Before you begin an application for transport assistance, please review the support video, guides and FAQs below.

The Education Authority provides transport assistance for eligible students to facilitate their attendance at Further Education Institutions.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Further Education Transport Helpdesk

If additional information is required or any difficulty is experienced, users can contact the Transport Helpdesk, Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm by:

Telephone: 028 9598 5959 Emailing: [email protected]

Last updated: 14/08/2023