Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Education and Skills
School Transport Provision
259. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if a post-primary school transport route (details supplied) will be extended with the capacity increased to meet demand; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3250/20]
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.
The purpose of the School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school. Under the terms of the School Transport Schemes children are eligible for transport at primary level where they reside not less than 3.2 kms from and are attending their nearest national school, and at post primary level where they reside not less than 4.8 kms from and are attending their nearest post primary school/education centre as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.
Distance eligibility is determined by Bus Éireann by measuring the shortest traversable route from the child’s home to the relevant school. The terms of the School Transport Schemes are applied equitably on a national basis.
Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only and may be facilitated where spare seats are available after eligible children have been accommodated. Where the number of ineligible children exceeds the number of spare seats available Bus Éireann will allocate tickets for the spare seats using an agreed selection process.
Bus Éireann is responsible for the planning and timetabling of school transport routes. Bus Éireann endeavours, within available resources, to ensure that each eligible child has a reasonable level of school transport service in the context of the Scheme nationally.
Families wishing to avail of school transport should complete the online application process on the Bus Éireann website before 24th April 2020. School transport scheme services operating for the 2020/21 school year will be determined by the number of children who apply and are deemed eligible for school transport.