Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Questions (180)

Tom Neville


180. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address a matter regarding the provision of school transport (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51316/19]

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

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

Bus Éireann has confirmed that the children referred to by the Deputy are eligible for school transport and that they are attending their nearest school but that no payment in respect of the 2019/20 school year has been received.

Bus Éireann is responsible for the planning and timetabling of school transport routes. Bus Éireann endeavours, within available resources, to ensure that each eligible child has a reasonable level of school transport service in the context of the Scheme nationally. Routes are planned on the basis of the locations of children who are eligible for school transport . Bus Eireann have advised that they will review the route mentioned by the Deputy for the next school year.