Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Education and Skills
School Transport Administration
176. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the way in which the decision to have a limit of 70 years of age for taxi and bus drivers transporting special needs children to school under the school transport scheme was arrived at; his plans to review the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2567/20]
School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.
In the current school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 children with special educational needs, are transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €219m in 2019.
It is Bus Éireann company policy that normal retirement age for all Bus Éireann staff is currently 66 years. However Bus Éireann part-time School Bus Drivers and drivers nominated by private operators who operate service as part of the School Transport scheme may continue to perform in the role provided they hold the requisite licence and satisfy an annual medical examination until they retire at age 70.
This policy and criteria is applied to all drivers who provide school transport services on behalf of Bus Éireann equally.
As the policy has already been reviewed to extend the retirement age from 66 to 70, there are no plans to have this age limit extended at present.