Seanad debates

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

School Transport

2:30 pm

Photo of Aisling DolanAisling Dolan (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I know that the Minister is very much aware that there is pure frustration among families and parents about this issue. There is no space or capacity on the buses. Suddenly, everyone has learnt about the criteria in respect of full eligible tickets and concessionary tickets. There have been last minute notice emails. There is the communications side of things and the family portal. Children have been left on the side of the road. I heard from a mother working at Portiuncula Hospital who had to leave the hospital to come out and pick up a child left at the side of the road. Is this the fault of bus drivers? No. Is it the fault of inspectors? No. We need to be smarter about how we use the resources at hand. This is an issue because it is affecting rural Ireland more than city centres, where there are so many other choices. We do not have taxis to bring people from A to B. That does not exist. Yes, maybe if one is in the town centre, one can get a taxi, but one cannot do so out in rural areas. I know that this is a huge issue for the Minister as well. Let us be smarter about using our resources. Let us use the budget allocation for private contractors. Let us take into account their extra fuel costs. Let us take the individual travel off the road and reduce emissions. Let us make things safer and let us help rural Ireland.


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