asked the Minister for Justice whether Gardaí Síochána or any officials of his Department have power to, or are instructed to, prevent overcrowding in public service vehicles; and, if so, whether he will take steps to prevent the present overcrowding in the buses which are provided to transport children from the Finglas area to other Dublin schools pending the provision of national schools in Finglas.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Overcrowding of School Buses.
The enforcement of the Large Public Service Vehicle Regulations, 1935, is a matter for the Garda Síochána. Under these regulations, the normal limit on the number of passengers that may be taken in a bus is determined by the seating capacity, but, where the passengers are children, an increase of 50 per cent is permitted. Furthermore, the regulations allow up to five additional passengers at peak periods or where undue hardship would be caused by leaving passengers behind.
This means that, where the only passengers are children, the legal limit on the number of passengers that may be taken at a peak period by a 74-seater bus (which, I understand, is used on this service) is 116.
The Garda Síochána have no reason to think that there is any foundation for the suggestion that it is the practice of CIE to ignore the limit and, in fact, I am informed that the number of buses assigned to the route is adequate, with a margin to spare, to carry all the children who normally want to travel.
Did I hear correctly when the Minister said 50 per cent.?
The Minister for Education said one in three.
That is correct. It is the same thing.
One-third is the half of two-thirds.
I am not going to split up a child for anybody.