School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.
In the 2019/20 school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 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 €219m in 2019.
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.
Under the terms of the scheme, children are eligible for school transport if they satisfy the distance criteria (3.2km at primary and 4.8km at post-primary) and are attending their nearest school as determined by my Department/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 school.
All children who are eligible for school transport and who complete the application and payment process on time are accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation.
Bus Éireann has confirmed that the services referred to by the Deputy were services that were operated by Dublin Bus and that Dublin Bus has withdrawn these services. These services were operated separately by Dublin Bus and children paid fares or availed of a range of weekly tickets when travelling. These services do not fall under the remit of my Department’s School Transport Scheme.