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.
Bus Éireann, which operates school transport services on behalf of my Department, maintains a separate account for the School Transport Scheme. This account is audited each year by independent auditors and accounts in respect of the last number of years are available on my Department's website.
The 1975 Summary of Accounting Arrangements forms the basis of the payment to Bus Éireann for the operation of the School Transport Scheme.
The Department reimburses Bus Éireann for a range of costs identified as being directly incurred in the operation and administration of the scheme, together with an agreed charge to cover all other direct costs and indirect costs attributable to the work carried out for the Department, referred to as the Transport Management Charge.
The Department has invested in enhancements in a number of areas of the scheme in recent years, including IT, customer service and investment in fleet.