Written answers

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Department of Education and Skills

School Transport

Photo of Niamh SmythNiamh Smyth (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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68. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills to allocate a school transport ticket to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46072/22]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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The School Transport Scheme is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department. In the last school year over 121,400 children, including over 15,500 children with special educational needs, were transported on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country at a cost of over €289m in 2021.

In July 2022, Government announced funding for the waiving of school transport scheme fees for the coming school year as part of a wider package of cost of living measures.

Ticket registration for the 2022/23 school year closed on 29 July by which time almost 130,000 applications/registrations were received for mainstream school transport. This figure includes 44,299 new applications as well as roll-overs from the previous school year.

The normal eligibility criteria of the scheme still apply and tickets continue to be allocated in line with this criteria. Pupils at primary level are eligible where they live no less than 3.2 kilometres from and are attending their nearest primary school. At post primary level, students who live no less than 4.8 kilometres from and are attending their nearest post primary school/education centre are deemed eligible.

Any pupils/students who do not meet these criteria are deemed not eligible, or otherwise known as concessionary applicants, and are allocated a ticket based on the availability of a seat when all eligible children have been catered for.

In line with normal practice, all eligible children who completed the application and ticket registration process on time for the 2022/2023 school year will be accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation.

Bus Éireann have advised that the pupil referred to by the Deputy is not eligible for transport as they are not attending their closest school and as they are under the distance criteria they cannot be deemed eligible for temporary alleviation measures.

A ticket request was received for this pupil by the deadline of 29/07/2022, however they were unsuccessful in obtaining a concessionary seat for the 2022/23 school year.

The existing service is currently operating to capacity and there are no seats available at present.

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