Written answers

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Department of Education and Skills

School Transport

Photo of John McGuinnessJohn McGuinness (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail)
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75. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if the age restriction of 66 years applied by Bus Éireann to school bus drivers operating under contract to the company will be removed to allow them to drive school buses up to the same retirement age applicable to direct employees of the company; if he will clarify the position with the company; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46168/22]

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.

It is Bus Éireann company policy that normal retirement age for all Bus Éireann staff is currently 66 years. However Bus Éireann part-time School Bus Drivers and drivers nominated by private operators who operate service as part of the School Transport Scheme may continue to perform in the role provided they hold the requisite license and satisfy an annual medical examination until they retire at age 70. This policy and criteria is applied to all drivers who provide school transport services on behalf of Bus Éireann equally.

The age limit on school bus drivers was increased to 70 years a number of years ago. While Bus Éireann have informed the Department there is no plan to increase the age limit further at this time, the matter will continue to be kept under review.

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