Education Minister launches £13millon fleet of new school buses
Education Minister Peter Weir has launched a fleet of new high specification school buses at Lagan College.
The investment of £13million will see 116 new school buses on the road this month which will transport 3,500 pupils to mainstream and special schools across Northern Ireland. A further £18million will be invested over the coming year.
Speaking at the launch, Education Minister Peter Weir said:
“I am pleased to be here today to launch the first fleet of new high specification school buses. The safety of our young people is my top priority and through this investment of £31m, by the end of the year, parents can be assured that their children have safe and reliable transport for their home to school journey.
“Home to School transport plays an integral part in young people’s educational experience and by investing in new buses and improving the experience of children travelling to school in modern, comfortable buses we are helping to provide children with the best opportunity to reach their full potential. With greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions these buses will also be better for the environment.”
The Education Authority runs one of the largest bus fleets in Northern Ireland with over 800 buses helping to transport 86,000 pupils to school and college each day.
Eve Bremner, Assistant Director of Transport at the Education Authority explained:
“In 2020 we began a five year investment programme to modernise our school bus fleet. By the end of this year we will have invested £31million and after five years aim to have replaced 50% of our buses. The new vehicles provide an improved passenger experience, as well as having enhanced safety features and increased seating capacity.
“We’re delighted to be here at Lagan College to launch some of our new models. They demonstrate our commitment to continue to provide a high quality, safe and efficient service to the 86,000 pupils we transport every day. We’re looking forward to welcoming pupils on board.”
The new vehicles will provide enhanced comfort and safety for pupils travelling in them and will include features such as:
Improved passenger experience - air-conditioning, all age seat belts, USB charging points (limited trial).
Improved safety - internal & external CCTV, audible safety prompts (fasten seat belt, vehicle check and vehicle reversing).
Improved efficiency - a reduction in maintenance costs, less ‘downtime’/time off road, improved fuel efficiency & reduced emissions, digital data download capability.
COVID/public health features - permanent driver screen, hand sanitiser.