TD Whitmore calls for a permanent solution for school children accessing the 885 bus

Wicklow TD Jennifer Whitmore has called for a permanent solution for children who have no way home from school following the introduction of the new 885 bus timetable in November.

Local Link today confirmed that the temporary 4 pm 885 bus service between Sallins and Ballymore Eustace will be extended until Friday, January 26th, while a further review of the service takes place.

Deputy Whitmore, along with Local Area Rep, Deirdre McCormack, had previously raised concerns following the removal of the 4 pm 885 bus service from Sallins, which several Blessington school children had been travelling on daily to get home from their school in Naas. The timetable was altered as part of the extension of the 885 Local Link route, which started operating in November last year and saw no service leaving Sallins between 1 pm and 6 pm.

Speaking today, Deputy Whitmore said: “This issue has been ongoing since November when I first contacted the National Transport Authority about the new 885 timetable and the impact the removal of the 4 pm service from Sallins was having on local school children. Following that representation, the NTA  introduced a temporary 4 pm 885 bus service between Sallins and Ballymore Eustace via Naas and Blessington. This service ran until the end of the school term and was scheduled to continue temporarily from January 8th to 12th to coincide with the return of schools after the winter break.

“However, I understood that this temporary measure would give the NTA time to devise a permanent solution, which we hoped would be in place for the children returning to school on January 8th.

“Instead, we are now seeing this temporary service being extended by one week and two weeks at a time instead of introducing a permanent solution.

“I have reiterated my call for the NTA and Local Link to introduce a permanent solution to the gap in the 885 timetable as a matter of urgency. Students should be able to feel confident that they will have a way to get home from school each day.” concluded Deputy Whitmore.  

Local Area Representative for West Wicklow, Deirdre McCormack, added; “I welcome the fact that the NTA and Local Link have been working with us and with the affected families, but there has now been over two months to find a permanent solution to this issue. Parents need to know they can rely on this bus service to be there for their children to get home from school. The uncertainty regarding the service has caused huge stress and disruption for the families involved, some of whom have children in exam years.

“The expansion of our public transport routes here in West Wicklow is very welcome progress, but these public transport options must consider and address the needs of our communities here,” added Ms McCormack.

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