Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Questions (74)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

74. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a solution will be provided for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41298/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.

The purpose of my 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.

In the 2017/18 school year over 117,000 children, including over 12,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 4,500 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually at a total cost of almost €190 million in 2017.

Children are generally eligible for school transport if they satisfy the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school.

Children who are eligible for school transport and who completed the application process on time have been issued with tickets for the services operating into the school in question for the 2018/19 school year.

Children who are not eligible for school transport can be facilitated where spare seats are available after eligible children have been accommodated.

Under the terms of the scheme, routes will not be extended or altered, additional vehicles will not be introduced, nor will larger vehicles or extra trips using existing vehicles be provided to cater for children who are not eligible as no additional State cost will be incurred in covering the cost of providing school transport for children who are not eligible.

A number of families were late in submitting their payment details and these families cannot be accommodated as services are currently operating to capacity.

The terms of the School Transport Schemes are applied equitably on a national basis.