School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills. 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. 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.
All children who are eligible for school transport and who complete the application process on time will be accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation for the 2019/20 school year. Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only and will be facilitated where spare seats are available after eligible children have been accommodated. Where the number of ineligible children exceeds the number of spare seats available Bus Éireann will allocate tickets for the spare seats using an agreed selection process.
Bus Éireann is currently considering applications for the 2019/20 school year. Services operating for the 2019/20 school year will be determined by the number of children who complete the application process on time and who and are deemed eligible for school transport.
Under the terms of the Post-Primary School Transport Scheme, children are eligible for transport where they reside not less than 4.8kms from and are attending their nearest education centre as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language. Bus Éireann has confirmed that, in general, pupils who reside in the area referred to are not eligible for transport to the school referred to. In cases where the Department is satisfied that the nearest school is full, eligibility for school transport will be determined based on the distance that children reside from their next nearest school having regard to ethos and language. Further information in this regard is available on my Department's website www.education.ie.
The terms of the School Transport Schemes are applied equitably on a national basis.