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Children left stranded after bus fails to appear

HUNDREDS of local children were left stranded yesterday (Wednesday) morning after their normal school transport failed to turn up.

Over 200 primary and secondary school pupils were affected by the disruption which meant that they either missed school or had to make alternative arrangements to ensure that they were able to attend classes.

Among the areas affected were Evish, Douglas Bridge, Castlederg, Clady and parts of the Dunamanagh area including Aughabrack.
Holy Cross College in Strabane was also among the schools attended by students affected by the disruption.

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It is understood that a total of eight buses were unable to make their usual journeys.

The issue came to light after a number of parents contacted West Tyrone Sinn Féin MLA, Michaela Boyle.

She told the Chronicle that she had spoken to the bus company involved and that they were making every effort to rectify the situation and make sure that the transport would run as normal this morning (Thursday).

“It is unfortunate that a large number of pupils from a variety of areas were unable to get to school yesterday,” she said.

“Obviously, the education of the children is at the heart of this and everybody including the parents, bus company and the Education Authority have been working hard to ensure that the problem is resolved for the benefit of everyone.

“The Education Authority was liaising with schools on the matter throughout the day and had asked parents to make contact with the schools being attended by their children.  I have also been in contact with the bus company involved. They are a firm which has a strong work ethic, and are held in very high regard within the local area.

“Everyone is hoping that the issues which caused these problems will be resolved and that normal service will be resumed.”

The Education Authority sub-contracts many school transport routes out to private bus companies.

In a statement, a spokesperson confirmed that the private operator contracted to provide transport services for some pupils travelling in the Strabane area was unable to operate a number of school runs.

“All issues have now been resolved and transport arrangements will operation as normal from today (Thursday) October 5,” they said.

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 15 Main Street, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, BT82 8AS