Friday, 6 September 2019

Ceisteanna (486, 516)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

486. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which provision has been made for the restoration of free or concessionary school bus transport for children in the Rathcoffey and Donadea areas of County Kildare; the extent to which those children that previously had school transport withdrawn in the recent review can be restored; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36726/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

516. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children in the Rathcoffey and Donadea areas of County Kildare whose access to free or concessionary school transport has been discontinued in the course of recent reviews; the number reinstated or pending in relation to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36907/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 486 and 516 together.

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

The purpose of my Department's 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.

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.

Children are generally eligible for school transport if they satisfy the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school.

Children who are eligible for school transport and who have completed 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 advise that a total of 48 pupils who applied for school transport from the area referred to by the Deputy were not allocated tickets, 18 were concessionary children who were not successful in obtaining a seat following the selection process, 15 were concessionary children who did not make a payment by the payment date are were therefore not included in the selection process, and 15 eligible children did not make a payment by the payment date and therefore did not receive tickets.