Written Answers. - School Transport.

Paul McGrath

Question:

191 Mr. McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Science if a review on the transport to the secondary school at Kilbeggan, County Westmeath, will be carried out in view of the fact some pupils in the Streamstown area are collected by the school bus at 7.30 a.m. and arrive at school at 8.00 a.m. and those same students are not collected from the school until 4.20 p.m. each evening; his views on whether this necessitates too long a day for those pupils; if his attention has been drawn to the anxiety of parents of those children who, during the winter and spring period, are on narrow roads during darkness; his views on this situation; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that these students may not be supervised for long periods and that numerous accidents and incidents have occurred as a result of the early arrival at school and the late departure; and the proposals, if any, to improve this situation. [22333/98]

In the organisation of school transport services, all routes are planned so that, as far as possible, every eligible pupil has a reasonable standard of service, while at the same time ensuring that vehicles are utilised in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.

In order to achieve this, individual vehicles are generally required to operate a number of services to both primary and post-primary schools. This means that pupils are often required to make an early start in the mornings and to wait for some time in the evenings. Post-primary school transport services are planned so that, as far as possible, travelling and waiting times do not exceed three hours daily, and every effort is made to keep waiting times to a minimum.
In this case the school bus operates a trip to Kilbeggan and another post-primary centre. The arrangements for pupils on these services is currently under examination by my Department and Bus Éireann has been requested to provide a detailed report. The Deputy will be informed of the outcome as soon as possible.