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.
All children who are eligible for school transport and who 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 may 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 allocates tickets for the spare seats using an agreed selection process.
Bus Éireann has advised that child referred to by the Deputy is not eligible for school transport under the terms of my Department's Post Primary School Transport Scheme. Bus Éireann also advise that the pupil referred to resides 7.5kms from the route of an existing school transport service and that there are seats available on this service that this child could avail of on a concessionary basis.
The case referred to by the Deputy is the subject of an appeal to the School Transport Appeals Board. The case is due to be considered at the next meeting of the Appeals Board which is scheduled for 19th December 2019. The Board will inform the family directly of their determination on the matter.