Written answers

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Department of Education and Skills

School Transport Administration

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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164. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills her views on a matter (details supplied) regarding school transport conditions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46635/14]

Photo of Damien EnglishDamien English (Meath West, Fine Gael)
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As the Deputy is aware, Bus Éireann operates the school transport scheme on behalf of the Department.

Bus Éireann has advised the Department that in response to the expressed wishes of many school bus drivers - both Bus Éireann and private contractor school bus drivers - who wanted to remain in the position upon reaching retirement age at sixty-five years, and following the advice of their Medical Department, the Company decided to alter the compulsory retirement age for school bus drivers who provide services under the School Transport Scheme to enable experienced personnel to remain on in the position for a maximum of five more years if desired.

School bus drivers who opt to remain on after sixty-five years of age may do so up to the age of seventy, if they are satisfied to do so, subject to annual medical review and once they continue to hold the requisite driving licence. Bus Éireann has further advised that the opinion of the Bus Éireann Chief Medical Officer is that, given the demanding and safety critical nature of School Bus driving, 70 years of age is deemed a reasonable age at which to retire from such employment.

A Contractor may continue to hold the Contract to provide a school bus service on behalf of Bus Éireann when over the age of seventy years, using a nominated driver to provide their service.

Provided a bus over twenty years old is subject to regular maintenance of a high standard and continues to satisfy the requirements of the RSA/Department of Transport and statutory obligations, that bus may be used to provide public bus services. Many buses over twenty years old do so privately throughout the State.Under the School Transport Scheme and in relation to the operation of services on its behalf, Bus Eireann has set a goal to withdraw buses from daily service at twenty years to provide a better quality service in line with public demands, which is why buses over twenty years are generally not engaged under contract or utilised in daily service.


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