Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Ceisteanna (319)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

319. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a person (details supplied) cannot get their child on a school bus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31702/19]

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. Distance eligibility is determined by Bus Éireann by measuring the shortest traversable route from the child's home to the relevant education centre.

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. Where the number of applications from ineligible children exceeds the number of spare seats available, tickets are allocated using an agreed selection process.

Bus Éireann has advised that the child referred to by the Deputy is not eligible for transport as they are not attending their nearest school.

The terms of the scheme are applied equitably on a national basis.