Friday, 6 September 2019

Ceisteanna (416, 476)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

416. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the additional funding provided for school transport for schools (details supplied) to date in 2019, in view of the fact that the school population will be larger and the catchment bigger; the process used to calculate transport needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36075/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

476. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which the issue of students discommoded by the curtailment of a school bus (details supplied) has been resolved or is about to be resolved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36650/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 416 and 476 together.

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department. In the 2018/2019 school year over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €200m in 2018.

The purpose of the School Transport 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 are generally eligible for school transport if they satisfy the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language. All children who are eligible for school transport and who complete the application process on time have been 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.

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