Thursday, 10 September 2020
Department of Education and Skills
127. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills when the Bus Éireann school transport portal will be reopened to accept payments for school transport; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23233/20]
School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the 2019/20 school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 children with special educational needs, were 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.
The closing date for payment for the 2020/2021 school year was Tuesday 4th August 2020. All children who are eligible for school transport and who applied and paid by the deadline have been accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation.
The School Transport Scheme Family Portal was temporarily closed for applications and payments on the 20thAugust 2020. This temporary closure was necessary to complete the work required to issue tickets to families who at that time remained due to be allocated a ticket for school transport services for the 2020/2021 school year.
The School Transport Scheme Family Portal has now re-opened. However, parents/guardians making an application/payment at this time for the 2020/2021 school year are reminded that the closing date for payments for the 20/21 school year was Tuesday 4thAugust 2020. While it is possible to submit a payment, payments made at this time are now late. Late applicants and/or families who pay late are not guaranteed a seat and will only be allocated a seat if capacity is available once seats are allocated to those families who applied and paid on time for transport services for the 2020/2021 school year.
In addition, payments for Post-Primary seats completed or made after 4thAugust 2020 can only be considered when 50% capacity, required by new Covid19 public health guidelines, is achieved on each route.
In the event of not securing a ticket where no capacity exists, or on cancellation, a full refund will be issued.