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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Translink announces important changes to school travel passes starting September 2024

Students in front of bus

 

Ahead of the summer break, Translink and the Education Authority (EA) have announced they will be issuing new bus and rail smartcards for eligible school pupils and further education students for their home to school or college journeys, with important changes taking effect from September 2024.

 

In advance of the new school term resuming in September, new smartcards will be issued and pupils and FE students will be required to electronically validate their new smartcards on each journey.


This is done by tapping the card on a Translink ticket machine, reader, or gate.



Schools are advised to communicate these changes to parents and pupils to ensure they are prepared for the new process. This development aims to enhance the overall safety and effectiveness of bus and rail travel for schoolchildren and FE students across Northern Ireland.

 

The introduction of electronic validation for smartcards marks a significant step forward for Translink’s school bus services. Not only does this streamline the boarding process, but it also helps young people with their independence while highlighting the key environmental and health benefits of using public transport, including reduced carbon emissions, reduced road congestion, cleaner air and active travel.



Michelle Rafferty, Transport Business Manager at Translink, said:


“We are committed to making public transport safe, efficient, and user-friendly for all our young passengers and these new smartcards will help us continue to deliver that. From September, pupils will simply tap their smartcard on an electronic reader, ensuring smoother boarding and an overall enhanced travel experience.


“Our duty of care to young people remains paramount and we will enable everyone to become accustomed to the new system.”



Niall McKinley, Head of Service, Transport from the Education Authority, added:


"Ensuring the safety and well-being of pupils getting to and from school remains a top priority, and this new electronic validation system is a welcome enhancement. We are working closely with Translink to make this smartcard transition as smooth as possible and appreciate the cooperation of all parents, pupils, and schools during this new process."

 

Each smartcard will contain the pupil's name, boarding and alighting location, and the name of their school. There are no changes to the duty of care requirements, and any pupil who forgets or loses their smartcard, will still be allowed to travel.


Journeys and more at www.translink.co.uk

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