Thursday, 9 May 2019

Questions (70)

Brendan Griffin


70. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a decision has been made on a post-primary school bus application (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20240/19]

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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 kilometres annually.

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.

Under the terms of the Department's Post Primary School Transport Scheme children are eligible for school transport where they reside not less than 4.8 kilometres from and are attending their nearest school as determined by my Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

Bus Éireann is responsible for the planning and timetabling of school transport routes. A minimum number of 10 eligible children residing in a distinct locality, as determined by Bus Éireann, are required before consideration may be given to the establishment or retention of school transport services, provided this can be done within reasonable cost limits. For school bus operating purposes a "distinct locality" is a cluster of eligible children who reside in the same general area, in the same general direction from the school attended, as determined by Bus Éireann taking cognisance of the local road network. A service to convey a group of children whose homes are at scattered points in a school district would not be considered.

Bus Eireann has advised that it is currently assessing all eligible applications from the area referred to by the Deputy to establish if a school transport service is warranted under the guidelines of the school transport scheme from the 2019/20 school year.

The terms of the Post Primary School Transport Scheme are applied equitably on a national basis.