Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (450)

Pearse Doherty


450. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if consideration will be given to providing additional transport for students travelling to nearby schools in County Donegal on a route that is oversubscribed (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36411/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

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

In the 2018/2019 school year over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €200m in 2018.  

The purpose of my Department’s 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.

Children who are eligible for school transport and who have completed the application process on time have been accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation for the 2019/20 school year.

Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only and will be facilitated where spare seats are available after eligible children have been accommodated. Where the number of ineligible children exceeds the number of spare seats available Bus Éireann will allocate tickets for the spare seats using an agreed selection process.

Bus Éireann has confirmed that there were a number of children in the area referred to by the Deputy who did not complete the application process within timelines and therefore were not allocated a ticket for the 2019/20 school year.  Bus Eireann has also confirmed that the service in question is operating to capacity.