School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the current school year over 113,100 children, including over 14,500 children with special educational needs, are transported on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country at a cost of over €224.7m in 2020.
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.
As the Deputy is aware it was decided by Government last week that all schools will remain closed to students from Monday 11th January, which means that as of Monday 11th January students will resort to a programme of remote learning in line with the rest of the Government restrictions. Therefore, as schools are currently closed there are no school transport services operating and in line with previous practice for Covid related closures the Department has advised Bus Éireann that contractors operating on the school transport scheme should be paid at 50% of their normal rate while schools remain closed.