Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (333)

John McGuinness


333. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills the action he is taking to provide school transport for 24 pupils who are attending schools (details supplied); if the pupils will be included in the school transport system in view of the fact that all buses from Callan to Kilkenny city are operating at maximum capacity; and if a solution for all concerned will be expedited. [19248/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

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

There are currently over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million km annually.

The purpose of the 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 general children are eligible for school transport if they meet the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school.

Children who are eligible for school transport and who complete the application process on time will be accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation for the 2019/20 school year.

Bus Éireann has confirmed that the children from the area referred to by the Deputy are not eligible for school transport as they are not attending their nearest school.

The number and size of buses operating for the 2019/20 school year will be determined by the number of children who apply and are deemed eligible for school transport.

Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only and will be facilitated where spare seats are available after eligible children have been accommodated. In this regard families should liaise with their local Bus Éireann office regarding the availability of transport on a concessionary basis for the next school year.

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