Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Education and Skills

School Transport

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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209. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills when a response will issue in relation to a school transport issue (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5976/20]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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211. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills when a response will issue in relation to a school transport issue (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5982/20]

Photo of John HalliganJohn Halligan (Waterford, Independent)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 209 and 211 together.

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of my Department.

The purpose of my Department's 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.

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.

Under the terms of the scheme, children are eligible for school transport if they satisfy the distance criteria (3.2km at primary and 4.8km at post-primary) and are attending their nearest school 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.

All children who are eligible for school transport and who complete the application and payment process on time are accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation. 

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.

School transport scheme services operating for the 2020/21 school year will be determined by the number of children who complete the application and payment process on time and are deemed eligible for school transport.

Photo of Michael MoynihanMichael Moynihan (Cork North West, Fianna Fail)
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210. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if the establishment of a school transport service from Ballyhea, County Cork from September 2020 will be examined; if his attention has been drawn to students travelling from Ballyhea to Buttevant to post-primary schools and the urgent need for this service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5978/20]

Photo of John HalliganJohn Halligan (Waterford, Independent)
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School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of my 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 my Department's 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.  In general children are eligible for school transport if they meet the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school. 

All children who are eligible for school transport and who complete the application and payment process on time are accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation. 

Children who are not eligible for school transport, but who complete the application process on time, are considered for spare seats that may exist after eligible children have been facilitated; such seats are referred to as concessionary seats.  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.

School transport scheme services operating for the 2020/21 school year will be determined by the number of children who complete the application and payment process on time and are deemed eligible for school transport.

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