The main purpose of the school transport scheme is to ensure that pupils, who might otherwise have difficulty in attending school, can do so on a regular basis.
The scheme conveys over 130,000 pupils, at both primary and post-primary levels, to school at present. In providing this service, in the region of 2,850 vehicles are required daily covering approximately 5,600 routes to school.
The vast majority of the school transport users are satisfied with the service provided. However, a number of users appeal to my Department each year for changes to be made in the delivery of the service to meet their particular needs. In order to increase transparency in the delivery of the system and to demonstrate to our customers that such appeals are treated in an efficient and objective manner, an independent appeals board will be established.
The new board will commence operation from January 2003. Proposals regarding the membership of the board and the terms of reference under which it will operate are being finalised at present. It is intended to give appropriate publicity to the board and its operation when it is established.