Over a two-week period, 28 local schools completed the ‘Translink Eco-Schools Travel Challenge’ with 3078 pupils monitoring their travel patterns and making an effort to walk, cycle, use the bus or train for the school run. There was a massive shift away from car use to sustainable travel with 32,992 sustainable journeys made.
Blythefield Primary School, Belfast, Grosvenor Grammar School, Belfast, Longtower Primary School, Derry~Londonderry and St Colum’s Primary School, Portstewart were the top performers encouraging pupils and parents to choose more environmentally-friendly transport modes. Glencraig Primary School, Holywood, also won an Ulsterbus Tours educational class coach trip and day out in Dublin.
Speaking at a special prize presentation, Translink Health & Safety Manager, John Thompson, said:
“Congratulations to all 28 schools who successfully completed the travel challenge! You’re what we call in Translink – ‘Smartmovers’ – because you’re all making smart choices about how you travel.
“You’ve shown a real understanding about how Northern Ireland needs to address the issue of congestion in our towns and cities and care more for the environment to keep Northern Ireland moving and growing. This serious issue was also addressed in our recent Road Share event in Oxford Street, Belfast city centre, where we demonstrated the ‘waste of space’ on our roads taken up by cars compared to buses, Glider, walking and cycling.
“The good news is that more and more people in Northern Ireland are choosing public transport with a record 81 million passenger journeys last year – the highest in the past 20 years – and we’re committed to further Infrastructure development, product innovation and sustained vehicle investment to attract even more people on board the bus and train.
“We would like to thank local schools for participating in the Challenge. It’s been really encouraging to see many participants make a 100% shift away from car travel and we hope they continue to choose sustainable transport in the years ahead” said John.
Ian Humphreys, CEO at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said: “It’s great to see the number of pupils taking part in this challenge growing every year. By capturing the hearts and minds of our teachers and young people, the Translink Eco-Schools Travel Challenge is now bringing about real reductions in the morning school gate congestion.
“Car journeys reduced by 24% during the challenge and pupils taking part made 88% of their journeys without a car during the two-week period. Increasing use of greener forms of transport such as bus and train is all part of showing you live here and love here and there has never been a better time to start than now” Ian added.
Schools interested in participating in the next Translink Eco-Schools Travel Challenge as part of the Eco-Schools Awards Scheme can call 028 9073 6920 or click www.translink.co.uk/ecoschools/.