School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the current school year over 121,400 children, including over 15,500 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 €289m in 2021.
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.
Bus Éireann is obliged to tender all works, goods and services to be provided by external suppliers in line with national and EU procurement legislation and this includes services provided by contractors under the School Transport Scheme. Compliant tenders are evaluated against published award criteria. Successful tenderers are awarded a contract for up to five years.
The Department of Education is considering in consultation with other relevant departments and Bus Éireann the implications that increasing fuel costs may have on the provision of school transport services. The Department is also very aware of the potential impact of the current situation unfolding in Ukraine which is impacting fuel prices further.
Government has announced a reduction in excise on fuel will result in a decrease in the cost of fuel. The reduction of 20 cent per litre on petrol and 15 cent per litre on diesel will be in place until 31 August at an estimated cost of €320m. This is a national measure aimed at easing the financial burden on contractors and families at this time.