Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (477)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

477. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which free school transport can be offered to the children of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36651/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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

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.

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.

Under the terms of my Department's Post Primary School Transport Scheme children are eligible for transport where they reside not less than 4.8 kilometres from and are attending their nearest education centre as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

Bus Éireann has advised that the child in question is not attending her nearest post primary centre and is therefore not eligible for school transport.

Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only. Concessionary transport is subject to a number of terms and conditions including the availability of spare seats on an existing service and payment of the annual charge.

Bus Éireann has confirmed that there are still seats available on an existing service and the family should liaise with their local Bus Éireann office if they wish to avail of transport on a concessionary basis.

The terms of the Post Primary School Transport Scheme are applied equitably on a national basis.