Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (309, 310)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

309. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of applications received for the school transport scheme in 2018; and the number of places provided. [31289/19]

View answer

Thomas Byrne

Question:

310. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children provided with school transport on a concessionary basis through the school transport scheme. [31290/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 309 and 310 together.

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.

Throughout the course of the school year Bus Éireann continue to issue tickets and allocate seats to pupils once capacity exists on any given route.

For the 2018/19 school year there were in the region of 1,600 children who applied for tickets on a concessionary basis who were not allocated a ticket.

In the 2018/2019 school year there were over 28,500 children availing of school transport on a concessionary basis.

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