Written answers

Thursday, 4 July 2024

Department of Education and Skills

School Transport

Photo of Michael LowryMichael Lowry (Tipperary, Independent)
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300. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills to provide an update on the school transport scheme, specifically in relation to concessionary tickets, and on the specific case of a student (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28960/24]

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 current school year over 161,600 children, including over 135,000 pupils traveling on primary and post primary services, 19,800 pupils with special educational needs, and 6,800 pupils who have arrived to Ireland from Ukraine are transported on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country.

The total cost of the scheme in 2023 was €382.02m.

The purpose of the 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 current terms of the School Transport Schemes children are eligible for transport at primary level where they reside not less than 3.2 km from and are attending their nearest national school as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann having regard to ethos and language. At post primary level, they are eligible where they reside not less than 4.8 km 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.

Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only and will be facilitated 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.

The availability of concessionary transport may vary from year to year and cannot be guaranteed for the duration of a child’s post primary school education cycle.

Bus Éireann has advised that the pupil referred to by the Deputy is not eligible for school transport as they reside 0.4kms from their nearest post primary school and 26.9kms from the school they are attending, their fifth nearest post primary school.

Bus Éireann further advise that the pupil referred was unsuccessful in obtaining a concessionary school transport ticket for the 2024/25 school year.

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