Written answers

Thursday, 28 September 2023

Department of Education and Skills

School Transport

Photo of Peter BurkePeter Burke (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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173. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide an update on the status of school transport for two school pupils (details supplied). [41918/23]

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 of Education. In the 2022/2023 school year, over 149,000 children, including over 18,000 children with special educational needs, were transported on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country.

In addition, school transport scheme services were provided for over 5,400 children who have arrived to Ireland from Ukraine.

The total cost of the scheme in 2022 was €338.9m.

Already over 132,000 tickets have issued for the 2023/2024 school year which is an increase of 12% when compared with the same time last year. This number of tickets has already exceeded the total number of tickets issued in the 2022/23 school year.

The Post Primary School Transport Scheme supports the transport to and from school of children who reside not less than 4.8 kilometres from and are attending their nearest post-primary education centre/school.

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.

Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only and will befacilitated where spare seats are available after eligible children have been accommodated. Where the number of ineligible children exceeds the number of spare seats available Bus Éireann will allocate tickets for the spare seats using an agreed selection process.

Under the terms of the scheme, routes will not be extended or altered, additional vehicles will not be introduced, nor will larger vehicles or extra trips using existing vehicles be provided to cater for children travelling on a concessionary basis.

The family to whom the Deputy refers are not eligible for transport as they are attending their 2nd nearest post primary centre and do not meet the distance criteria as they reside 3.4 km from home to their nearest school.

Bus Éireann have confirmed that an application and payment was received on time for this family for the 2023/24 school year, however this family was unsuccessful in obtaining a concessionary seat and the existing service is currently operating to capacity.


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