Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Lessons to be learned for school traffic

Thank goodness for the exam season. Not only does it usually produce the only decent weather of the summer, but it also means a dramatic reduction in rush-hour traffic levels.

The school run, which is reckoned to account for around a fifth of morning peak period traffic, slows to a trickle because half the kids are off on study leave.

Many more, of course, start their exams at the relatively leisurely hour of 9.30am or 10am. All of which takes the pressure off the key 8am-9am period when the roads are usually clogged with traffic.

It’s good news for the business community in general and for regular commuters in particular, who for once can have a reasonable expectation of knowing how long the journey to work will take.

Not much fun, of course, for the eager beavers on the various traffic and travel desks in the local radio stations.

At this time of year they are reduced to reporting road works and diversions, although as Talking Shop suggested recently, Nelson Street is still keeping them on their toes.

But it all begs the question of why the school day is not staggered year-round.

Surely if school was pushed back to a 9.30am start, for example, it would give office and factory workers an easier run to work.

Although the teachers might not approve, the school day could easily be extended to 4pm, say, which would give plenty of time for pupils to get home before the teatime rush begins.

Another option is that schoolchildren could use public transport or even walk to school instead of being dropped off by car.

Now there’s a radical thought. But what a difference it would make to our way of life.

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