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.
Bus Eireann has confirmed, that the child to whom the Deputy refers is eligible for School Transport. The family applied for School Transport on 7th September 2020 and payment was received on 8th September 2020 and as such both the application and payment were submitted 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 Covid19 public health guidelines, is achieved on each route.
Bus Éireann have advised that social distancing has been completed on the route that could accommodate the pupil to whom the Deputy refers, and following this exercise no seat has become available for this pupil.