School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the current school year over 114,100 children, including over 14,700 children with special educational needs, are transported on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country at a cost of over €224.7m in 2020.
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. Under the terms of my Department’s School Transport Scheme, children are eligible for transport where they reside not less than 3.2kms at primary and 4.8kms at post-primary and are attending their nearest School/Education Centre as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.
All children who are eligible for school transport and who complete the application and payment process on time will be accommodated on school transport services for the 2021/22 school year where such services are in operation.
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 allocates tickets for the spare seats using an agreed selection process.
Bus Éireann have confirmed that the pupil referred to by the Deputy is not eligible for school transport as he is not attending his closest school. No application for school transport was received for the pupil in question for the 20/21 school year. An application for school transport for the pupil in question for the 21/22 school year was received 28/02/2021.
Bus Éireann have advised that there is a school transport service available for the 21/22 school year from where the pupil resides to their school of attendance.