26 Oct 2017, 16.02

The Comptroller & Auditor General’s report on the provision of school transport published yesterday highlights issues in relation to efficiency and oversight, according Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Sean Fleming.

Deputy Fleming said: “School transport services in 2015 cost the Department of Education and Skills €173 million — about €1 million per school day. The number of eligible pupils carried on the dedicated bus fleet dropped from 117,000 in 2007 to 85,000 in 2015. Some of the spare seats are used by pupils who hold concessionary tickets. Many people will be surprised to hear that there is still significant estimated spare capacity of 35% - one in three of all seats - when all pupils are included. Furthermore, many ticket holders do not use the service every day.
This clearly points to issues of efficiencies in the operation of the service and in the use of taxpayers’ money. In addition, many families and school pupils are clearly affected by the operation of the current service and there has been increased demand for school transport by pupils with special educational needs.
In relation to oversight, no service level agreement is in place between the Department and Bus Éireann. The key document governing the relationship between the parties has not substantially changed in over 40 years. Bus Éireann produces an annual statement of account for the Department as part of its reporting requirements. This does not comprise a full set of financial statements. In addition, key cost drivers are not identified and the account does not provide information to support the Department in the effective management and oversight of the service.
In light of the report, we will be arranging to bring Bus Eireann and the Department before the Committee at an early date to consider the findings in greater detail and examine the operation, financial arrangements and oversight of the school transport service.”
Media Enquiries:
Ciaran Brennan,
Communications Unit,
Houses of the Oireachtas,
Leinster House,
Dublin 2.
P: +353 1 6183903
M: +353 86 0496518
Email: Ciaran.brennan@oireachtas.ie
Twitter: @OireachtasNews
Committee Membership:
Bobby Aylward Fianna Fáil
Peter Burke Fine Gael
Shane Cassells Fianna Fáil
Catherine Connolly Independent
David Cullinane Sinn Féin
Alan Farrell Fine Gael
Séan Fleming Fianna Fáil
Alan Kelly Labour
Marc MacSharry Fianna Fáil
Josepha Madigan Fine Gael
Mary Lou McDonald Sinn Féin
Noel Rock Fine Gael
Catherine Murphy Social Democrats-Green Party Group

Media Enquiries

Ciaran Brennan,
Houses of the Oireachtas,
Communications Unit,
Leinster House,
Dublin 2
+353 1 618 3903
+353 86 0496518
ciaran.brennan@oireachtas.ie
Twitter: @OireachtasNews

Committee membership

Deputies

Fine Gael

Sinn Féin

Fianna Fáil

Fianna Fáil

Anti-Austerity Alliance - People Before Profit

Senators

Fine Gael

Fianna Fáil