Tuesday, 21 June 2022
Department of Education and Skills
562. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she has directed that suitable school bus transport will be provided in the coming autumn to service the growing number of pupils (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32254/22]
School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the current school year over 121,400 children, including over 15,500 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 €289m in 2021.
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 Schemes children are eligible for transport at primary level where they reside not less than 3.2 kms from and are attending their nearest national school, and at post primary level where they reside not less than 4.8 kms from and are attending their nearest post primary school/education centre as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.
Children who are eligible for school transport and who complete the application process on time (apply on time and pay on time) are accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation.
Children who are not eligible but who apply for school transport are considered for spare seats that may exist after eligible children have been facilitated; such seats are referred to as concessionary seats and are subject to certain conditions, there must be a suitable service, as determined by Bus Éireann, operating into their school, if there is spare capacity on the service.
Bus Éireann review all school transport services over the summer months. Arising from this review, routes may be altered, extended or withdrawn depending on the number and location of eligible children who will be availing of school transport for the following school year.
Bus Éireann have advised the pupils who reside in the area and attend the school referred to by the Deputy are concessionary applicants. Bus Éireann further advised all pupils who submitted an application for school transport from the area referred to by the Deputy were accommodated on a school transport service for 2021/22 school year.