Written answers

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Department of Education and Skills

School Transport

Photo of John McGuinnessJohn McGuinness (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail)
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200. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if school transport will be provided in an area for persons (details supplied); her plans to provide a direct service from the general location of the homes of the persons; the reason this transport issue has not been resolved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30826/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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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.

Under the terms of the School Transport Scheme Primary children are eligible for transport where they reside not less than 3.2 kms from and are attending their nearest national school as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

Bus Éireann has confirmed that an extension to an existing school transport service is being put in place. Bus Éireann has also confirmed that they will be in contact with the families concerned to advise them of their transport arrangements.

Darren O'Rourke (Meath East, Sinn Fein)
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201. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of applicants for the school bus transport scheme for the 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years, by the categories of concessionary and eligible. [30844/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.

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. Under the terms of my Department’s School Transport Scheme, children are eligible for transport where they reside not less than 3.2kms at primary and 4.8kms at post-primary and are attending their nearest School/Education Centre as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

School Transport services for commenced on the 26th August for the 2020/21 school year. 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.

Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only and will 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 allocates tickets for the spare seats using an agreed selection process.

Bus Éireann has confirmed details for the number of applicants for the mainstream school transport scheme for the academic years 2018/2019, 2019/2020 and 2020/2021, broken down into eligible and ineligible (concessionary) and this information is set out in the table below. These figures include all mainstream applications including pupils who were issued with a ticket, pupils who paid but did not receive a ticket, applications where there was no service available, closed applications, applications where no payment/medical card was received, rollover pupils from the previous school year, remote area grant pupils and pupils who may never pay or complete their applications.

School Year Mainstream Eligible Mainstream Ineligible (Concessionary) Period/Date of report
2018/19 90146 40067 Period 13 2018 – 28/12/2018
2019/20 89219 39361 Period 13 2019 – 02/01/2020
2020/21 90323 39821 13/10/2020

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