Written answers

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Department of Education and Skills

School Transport

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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78. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if school transport will be provided to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46307/22]

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.

Children are eligible for transport at primary level where they reside not less than 3.2 kilometres from and are attending their nearest national school, and at post primary level where they reside not less than 4.8 kilometres 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 have completed the application process on time will be accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation.

In addition, temporary Alleviation Measures at post-primary level will be continued for the 2022/2023 school year pending completion of the review of the School Transport Scheme. This will mean that transport arrangements will continue to be provided for a number of post-primary students who are attending their second nearest school, who have applied and registered on time and who live more than 4.8km from their nearest school.

Children who are not eligible for school transport, but who completed the application process on time, will be considered for spare seats that may exist after eligible children have been facilitated; such seats are referred to as concessionary seats.

Because of the nature of concessionary transport for non-eligible children and the priority of providing places for eligible children, there may be an excess of demand over supply for concessionary places, in these cases Bus Éireann will allocate tickets for spare seats using a random selection process.

Bus Éireann has advised that the pupil(s) referred to by the Deputy was unsuccessful in obtaining a ticket for the 2022/2023 school year as they made a ticket request after the deadline of 29/07/2022.

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

Photo of Michael McNamaraMichael McNamara (Clare, Independent)
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79. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 271 of 14 September 2022, if she will address the case of two children (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46337/22]

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 29th July 2022 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.

Children are eligible for transport at primary level where they reside not less than 3.2 kilometres from and are attending their nearest national school, and at post primary level where they reside not less than 4.8 kilometres 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 have completed the application process on time will be accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation.

In addition, temporary Alleviation Measures at post-primary level will be continued for the 2022/2023 school year pending completion of the review of the School Transport Scheme. This will mean that transport arrangements will continue to be provided for a number of post-primary students who are attending their second nearest school, who have applied and registered on time and who live more than 4.8km from their nearest school.

Children who are not eligible for school transport, but who completed the application process on time, will be considered for spare seats that may exist after eligible children have been facilitated; such seats are referred to as concessionary seats.

Because of the nature of concessionary transport for non-eligible children and the priority of providing places for eligible children, there may be an excess of demand over supply for concessionary places, in these cases Bus Éireann will allocate tickets for spare seats using a random selection process.

Bus Éireann has advised that the pupil(s) referred to by the Deputy in this case did not submit a ticket request for transport for the 2022/23 year and the pupils were not successful in obtaining tickets on the service.

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