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School Transport

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 14 October 2020

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Ceisteanna (181)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

181. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education if school transport will be provided in the case of persons (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30522/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. 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/education centre as determined by my Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language

All children who are eligible for school transport and who completed the application and payment process on time have been accommodated on school transport services for the 2020/21 school year where such services are in operation. The closing date for payment for the 2020/2021 school year was Tuesday 4th August 2020.

Bus Éireann has advised that they have not received an application for transport for the 2020/21 school year from the family referred to by the Deputy. The Bus Éireann family portal remains open for applications but it is important to note that applications made at this time are late. Late applicants and/or families who pay late are not guaranteed a seat and will only be allocated a seat if capacity is available once seats are allocated to those families who applied and paid on time for transport services for the 2020/2021 school year.

In addition, payments or submission of medical card details for Post-Primary seats completed or made after 4th August 2020 will be only considered when 50% capacity, required by new Covid19 public health guidelines, is achieved on each route. In the event of not securing a ticket where no capacity exists, or on cancellation, a full refund will be issued.

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