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Traffic, clean air and school buses


Annoyed with the traffic that is choking up even Ireland’s small towns? Struggling to get to work through school traffic. Amazed at how easy it is to get to work during the mid-term break?

Imagine if the traffic was always as quiet as it is during the school holidays. Wouldn’t that reduce stress, unclog our streets, make the country run motor efficiently, reduce emissions and make our air cleaner?

I am not suggesting that we stop sending our kids to school! But imagine if we had a system of school buses that catered for ALL kids not close enough to school to walk or bike?

I recently spoke to a mum who had moved back to a town in Co. Cork with her family from the U.S.  One of the biggest adjustments for her was the crazy morning now spent driving around a small town in Ireland taking her kids to primary and secondary school.  In the U.S. they had been picked up by the school bus at the end of the street. For her this stressful and time consuming morning routine is a step backwards in terms of her quality of life, although she had moved back to Ireland to benefit from all the good things that Ireland has to offer.

At present primary students in Ireland can access a subsidised school bus service if they live more than 3.2 km from school and for post primary students the qualifying distance is 4.8km away from school.

I wonder how much it would cost to make this service free and increase the coverage to cover all children who live beyond walking distance of school?  I also wonder if families are eligible for a school bus but don’t know about it or have chosen not to avail of it? I also like the idea of walking school buses and their potential to get kids active and to support parents by taking turns to escort children to school.

At a time when air pollution is again on the rise in our urban areas and when congestion is building as a result, thankfully, of so many people getting back to work – we could make life better, remove stress and encourage our children to be more independent – by having a safe and reliable system of school buses for all.

Something to think about…

New article on the rise of air pollution from the Guardian 11 May 2016

And an Irish perspective in this Irish Examiner article on the 12th May 2016