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 1975 Summary of Accounting Arrangements form the basis of the payment to Bus Éireann for the operation of the School Transport Scheme. The school transport scheme is a demand-led service based on the number of eligible children who apply to avail of transport. Re-imbursement to Bus Éireann is on a cost recovery basis only and the Department of Education and Skills do not pay any profit to Bus Éireann relating to the School Transport Scheme.
The Department reimburses Bus Éireann for a range of costs incurred in the operation and administration of the scheme, together with other direct and indirect costs attributable to the work carried out for the Department, referred to as the Transport Management Charge. Actual expenditure is finalised in the Bus Éireann annual statement of account which is independently audited by the Bus Éireann auditors in accordance with the 1975 Summary of Accounting Arrangements. Balances, where they occur, are accounted for in the following year’s projected cost.
Information relating to Bus Éireann statutory accounts are a matter for Bus Éireann and information in relation to these accounts is published annually and is available Bus Éireann's website.