Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (476)

Richard Boyd Barrett


476. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education if the pupils of a school (details supplied) will receive additional bus transportation to address the lack of social distancing and the bus journeys to and from school of over two hours each way; if the extra buses needed will be found in the immediate future to protect the many very physically vulnerable children during the Covid-19 pandemic and after; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26878/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

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 with special educational needs arising from a diagnosed disability.

Bus Éireann is responsible for the planning and timetabling of school transport routes. Bus Éireann endeavours, within available resources, to ensure that each eligible child has a reasonable level of school transport service.

I am pleased to advise that transport request referred to by the Deputy to split the existing service in order to offer an improved level of service to all pupils has been approved. I am further pleased to advise that this service commenced on the morning of the 24th of September and is operating at the 50% capacity as required to meet social distancing requirements.