I propose to take Questions Nos. 581 to 584, inclusive, together.
School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.
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 the 2018/19 school year there were over 117,500 children, comprising circa 38,300 primary children, 66,100 post-primary children and 13,500 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 €200 million in 2018.
In the 2017/18 school year there were in the region of 117,000 children comprising circa 38,700 primary children, 65,500 post-primary children and 12,800 children with special educational needs transported in over 4,500 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually at a cost of almost €190 million in 2017.
Bus Éireann is currently considering applications for the 2019/20 school year. Services operating for the 2019/20 school year, and the cost of providing these services, will be determined by the number of children who complete the application process on time and who and are deemed eligible for school transport.
The terms of the scheme are applied equitably on a national level.