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School Transport Provision

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 May 2019

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Ceisteanna (176)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

176. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address a matter regarding a school bus route (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20660/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.

There are currently over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually. The purpose of the 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 the Post-Primary School Transport Scheme, children are eligible for transport where they reside not less than 4.8 kilometres from and are attending their nearest education centre as determined by the Department of Education/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

Children who are eligible for school transport and who complete the application process on time are accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation. Children who are not eligible for school transport, but who complete the application process on time, are considered for spare seats that may exist after eligible children have been facilitated; such seats are referred to as concessionary seats.

Under the terms of the scheme, routes will not be extended or altered, additional vehicles will not be introduced, nor will larger vehicles or extra trips using existing vehicles be provided to cater for ineligible children travelling as no additional State cost will be incurred in covering the cost of providing school transport for children who are not eligible.

Bus Éireann has advised that the child in question is not eligible for school transport as he is not attending his nearest school. Bus Éireann has confirmed that this pupil resides 0.1 km from the route of an existing morning service. This pupil resides 2.3 km from the route of an existing afternoon service. In the afternoon, the service that drops off 0.1 km from this pupils home address departs before this pupil finishes school. The afternoon service on which this pupil is accommodated has a set down point 2.3 km from the pupil’s home.

The terms of the School Transport Schemes are applied equitably on a national basis.

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