Thursday, 27 June 2019

Questions (62)

Michael Fitzmaurice


62. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has the authority to overrule decisions made by Bus Éireann on the routes buses take under the school transport scheme; if exceptions can be made for routes to be extended short distances to accommodate children who wish to attend a certain school that is not deemed to be their nearest post-primary centre for academic reasons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27323/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

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

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

Children who are not eligible for school transport, under the terms of the scheme, may apply to Bus Éireann for transport on a concessionary basis only. Concessionary transport is subject to a number of conditions including that 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; no additional State cost will be incurred.

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