Shortage of drivers blamed as school bus routes in Portadown and Craigavon suspended

A shortage of drivers has led to a number of school buses removed from routes in Portadown and Craigavon.

Monday, 4th October 2021, 10:55 am

Parents, particularly in rural areas, are concerned as their children rely on the bus to get the young people to school each day.

While the routes affected might change, currently the bus route for children attending Clounagh Junior High School in Portadown and Brownlow Integrated College in Craigavon are affected.

Their website reveals that this week buses affected include 5-0064 & 5-0065 & 5-0066 & 5-0067 in the Lurgan and Craigavon areas servicing Brownlow Integrated College and Clounagh Junior High School.

Clounagh Junior High School. Photo courtesy of Google.

Also the 04/10/20215-5040 to Camlough and Bessbrook servicing Rathore School

The Education Authority has blamed an ‘industry-wide shortage of drivers’ which it says is affecting private operators also on a daily basis.

Added to the prevelance of COVID-19 and staff suffering the illness or in isolation, the situation has worsened.

In a statement to the Portadown Times, the Education Authority said: “At times last minute changes can occur to any one of our 2,750 transport services but we are working extremely hard to keep disruption to an absolute minimum. At present a very small number of routes are affected and we understand and apologise for the inconvenience caused for those families affected.

“Currently there is an industry-wide shortage of drivers, and in addition driver and escort availability for the EA and private operators is also affected on a daily basis by COVID, and can be affected at extremely short notice.

“We are actively seeking relief staff to help deliver this and other services.”

“We also update our website on a daily basis with information on any routes affected the following day and we have been working with schools to ensure that parents are informed of any changes. The link can be reached on www.eani.org.uk/news/transport-updates

“We would also remind parents of the Department of Education’s guidance to consider active travel where appropriate and that home to school transport should only be used where there is no alternative available.”

-

-

-

Editor’s Message:

Thank you for reading this article. We’re more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

Please consider purchasing a copy of the paper. You can also support trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription of the News Letter.