ALLIANCE Councillor Sara Duncan (Castlereagh, West) has called for Translink to review its ‘three mile limit’ rule that means children living more than this distance from school must pay for bus passes.
Cllr Duncan made the appeal after the construction of a new pavement to Lagan College led Translink to refuse to issue free bus passes to children who had previously received it and who lived within the three mile limit.
Cllr Duncan stated:
“While the new footpath is great news for the safety of those children living near Lagan College, there are others who live almost exactly three miles from the school who are now being penalised because of it.
“While Manse Road is now undoubtedly safer, we now have the situation where, for example, a first year pupil living in somewhere like Belvoir estate could be forced to walk almost six miles a day with a heavy bag. Not everyone can afford to pay the annual £250 bill for daily school bus travel.
“Aside from that, there will be young children who will now have to cross roads with high volumes of traffic that they wouldn’t have had to deal with before, such as the Saintfield Road and Knock dual carriageway.
“It seems incredible that by making one road safer for children, that we might be putting them in danger on other, even more dangerous roads.
“The unfair three mile limit is a bit of a historical anachronism, as it was set in the days when the horse and trap was the most hazardous thing on the roads. It certainly couldn’t have taken account of the speed of modern traffic or the dangers faced these days.
“As a councillor, I fought hard for the new pavement to Lagan College. If children are now being put in danger on another part of their route to school because of it, this renders the whole exercise pointless.”