Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (589)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

589. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost to provide free school transport to all children on medical cards. [33717/19]

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.

Children who are eligible for school transport and who hold valid Medical Cards are exempt from paying the annual charge.  In the 2018/19 school year there were circa 29,000 eligible children who held a valid Medical Card and who were exempt from paying school transport charges.  In the 2018/19 school year there were in the region of 28,400 children who were not eligible for school transport but who were allocated a ticket on a concessionary basis.  It is not possible to say how many of these children held a valid medical card or to estimate the cost of providing free transport to those children.

 The terms of the scheme are applied equitably on a national basis.