Written Answers. - School Transport.

Denis Naughten

Question:

168 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Science if his Department's attention has been drawn to breaches in the school transport scheme maximum waiting and travelling time; the action he intends to take, if required; the services in question and the level to which the service is in breach of the maximum limit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22083/02]

Denis Naughten

Question:

174 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Science the plans he has to reduce the school transport scheme maximum waiting and travelling time in line with the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Science's recommendation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22126/02]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 168 and 174 together.

The recommendations of the joint Oireachtas committee report on school transport were taken into account when my Department reviewed the guidelines regarding the travelling and waiting times for pupils on school transport last year. Following the review it was decided to reduce the maximum combined travelling and waiting time for post-primary pupils from three hours to 2.5 hours. This decision was in line with the committees recommendations and was implemented from January 2001.

The combined maximum daily travelling and waiting time for primary school pupils is 1.5 hours. In the event of a breach of the guidelines being brought to the attention of my Department the case will be investigated in consultation with Bus Éireann, which operates the school transport scheme on behalf of my Department.