Belfast Telegraph

Neglected bus shelters get spruce-up as Northern Ireland schools return

 

Work has been carried out on this bus shelter
Work has been carried out on this bus shelter
Work has been carried out on this bus shelter
‘After’ picture of a rural shelter
‘Before’ picture of a rural shelter
‘After’ picture of a rural shelter
‘Before’ picture of a rural shelter
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Work has begun to improve the condition and safety of bus shelters for students across Co Armagh after concerns were raised by local parents ahead of the start of the new school term.

The issue was highlighted by frustrated parents to the Belfast Telegraph in recent weeks who were concerned for the safety of their children who would be using the shelters on a daily basis on their bus commutes to and from school.

As our photographs show, in some cases roadsides were so overgrown with weeds that the bus stops were barely visible.

Others were in poor states of repair and required urgent replacement.

The shelters are owned and maintained by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.

SDLP councillor Thomas O'Hanlon had urged the council to take immediate action to ensure the safety and wellbeing of young people in the area.

"In the run-up to the new school term, I was contacted by parents about the condition of some bus shelters across the district," he said.

"Some were in worse condition than others, where they had become totally overgrown in the summer months or needed more care and maintenance.

"A number of the bus shelters hadn't been used in recent years as there were no children getting buses to school in those areas but that will not be the case now in the new school term.

"Parents are rightly concerned for their children's safety when walking to these bus shelters early in the morning and late in the afternoons when they have got into this state," he continued.

"The very least we could do is ensure the safety of our road users and children.

"The plan is to have the works completed this week in preparation for schools returning later this week or early next week.

"It's amazing what a bit of scuffing and strimming can do."

Over 20 potentially hazardous bus shelter sites were identified across the area that needed repaired, replaced, cleaned or just the grass cut around them.

"There may be others and I would urge parents to bring them to my attention as soon as possible so I can notify the council in time for our primary and secondary schools re-opening," added Mr O'Hanlon.

When contacted yesterday, a spokesperson for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council said: "Over the past few weeks, the council has been addressing a number of maintenance issues across the borough.

"We are pleased that this work has been recognised and well received by both councillors and residents alike.

"We will continue to keep this under review and respond when required."

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