Thursday, 29 April 2021
Department of Education and Skills
67. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if there are plans to refund school bus transport users for periods of Covid-19 enforced school closure during the 2020-2021 term; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22463/21]
School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the current school year over 114,100 children, including over 14,700 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 the 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 decision taken by the Government not to re-open schools on the 6th January 2021, followed by the subsequent phased re-opening, was taken in the interest of protecting our pupils, their families, teachers and those members of the wider community and is one of the many measures taken to support efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The matter of refunds on the cost of school transport tickets for the period of school closures in the 2020/2021 school year will be considered at the end of the current school year.