Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (502)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

502. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of abolishing school transport fees for primary and post-primary students. [32842/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.  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 at a cost of over €200m in 2018. 

The purpose of the 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.  Children are generally eligible for school transport if they satisfy the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

In 2018, receipts from school transport charges amounted to some €15.9m or about 8% of the total cost of the scheme provided by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.  If school transport fees were to be abolished this would be the additional cost on the scheme.