Town schoolchildren are dumped on side of road
TRANSPORT BRAY STUDENTS FORCED TO TAKE BUS FROM ASHFORD
STUDENTS FROM Wicklow Town attending Coláiste Craobh Abhann in Bray are being forced to travel to Ashford in order to be picked up even though a bus heading to the same school leaves from outside the Grand Hotel every morning.
A change in the transport catchment area means parents have to cope with rush-hour morning traffic to drive their kids to Ashford, and rush-hour traffic in the afternoon when they go to pick them up.
‘It makes no sense,’ says parent Annette Quinn-Barry.
‘Most mornings and evenings I actually find myself trailing the bus that goes to and from Wicklow but my child isn’t allowed on it. Instead he has to get a different bus at Ashford.’
The opening of Gaelcholáiste na Mara 2007 mean’t Coláiste Craobh Abhann wasn’t any longer the only secondary level Irish school in the county and resulted in a boundary change for the relevant catchement area.
As a result the catchment for the Bray school changed from Wicklow town to Ashford. While students already attending the school can still avail of the Grand Hotel pick-up, anyone starting over the past two years has to go to Ashford.
‘This affects ten families and 13 children,’ adds Annette.
‘I live in Marlton Court so my son would only has to walk up the road to get the bus from outside the Grand. Instead I have to trail behind that bus and drive him to Ashford through morning traffic so he can get another bus.
‘It’s a nightmare for me because I have three younger children who I have to get ready, dressed and bring with me in the car. My car is full of my own kids so I can’t even think of car pooling.’
Siobhán McGuinness is another parents affected by the bureaucracy, and has even asked if it was possible to pay an additional charge so the Wicklow bus would pick up Wicklow children. Her request was refused.
‘The evening pick-up can be particularly bad. It coincides with all the other schools in town finishing so you can imagine the traffic. You have buses all over the town and it can often take at least 50 minutes to complete the journey,’ explains Siobhán.
She is aware of other parents who have one child allowed on the Wicklow bus because they were attending Coláiste Craobh Abhann before 2007, while another kid has to be dropped off at Ashford.
Another set of parents are about to take their child out of the school because they can’t drive and don’t feel comfortable relying on other parents.
Wicklow schoolchildren are let off on the side of the road between Ashford and Rathnew as the bus continues to Wicklow Town and they have to make their own way home.