Wednesday, 10 March 2021
Department of Education and Skills
494. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if the policy of Bus Éireann contracts will be examined in relation to the automatic retirement of drivers when they reach 70 years of age (details supplied); if the retirement age of drivers will be extended to 75 years of age; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12769/21]
School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the current school year over 113,100 children, including over 14,500 children with special educational needs, are transported on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country at a cost of over €224.7m in 2020.
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 scheme, children are eligible for school transport where they reside not less than 4.8kms at post-primary and 3.2kms at primary from and are attending their nearest school/post-primary centre as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.
It is Bus Éireann policy that the normal retirement age for all staff is currently 66 years. Bus Éireann part-time school bus drivers and drivers nominated by private operators as school bus drivers may continue to perform this role, subject to completing an annual medical examination up to the retirement age of 70 years.
This criteria is applied to all drivers who provide services as part of the School transport scheme that is operated by Bus Éireann, on behalf of the Department of Education. As this age limit has been examined previously and the retirement age extended to 70 years, there are no plans to extend this limit further at this point in time.