Education | School transport services for Rathcoffey to Maynooth
To ask the Minister for Education when school transport services will be provided for Rathcoffey to Maynooth, given that a number of families did not receive a bus ticket in September 2022 and urgently require the service in view of the recent announcement of additional funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
The School Transport Scheme is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the current school year over 147,900 children, including over 18,000 children with special educational needs, are transported on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country.
In addition, school transport scheme services are being provided in the current school year for over 3,800 children who have arrived to Ireland from Ukraine.
The total cost of the scheme in 2022 was €332.2m.
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.
There has been an increase in tickets allocated across all counties, with an increase of 18% in the number of tickets issued to eligible pupils compared to the start of the 2021/2022 school year and an increase of 27% in the number of tickets issued to concessionary pupils compared to the start of the 2021/2022 school year.
The normal eligibility criteria of the scheme still apply. Pupils at primary level are eligible where they live no less than 3.2 kilometres from and are attending their nearest primary school. At post-primary level students who live no less than 4.8 kilometres from and are attending their nearest post-primary school/education centre are deemed eligible.
All children who are eligible and who completed the application and registration process on time will be accommodated in the 2022 school year. In addition, pending completion of the outcome of the full review of the School Transport Scheme, Temporary Alleviation Measures at post-primary level will be continued for the 2022/2023 school year. Under these measures, which were initially introduced in 2019, transport will be provided for post-primary pupils who are eligible for transport to their nearest school and are attending their second nearest school and who applied by the 29th April and registered for a ticket by the 29th July.
Any pupils/students who do not meet these criteria are deemed not eligible, or otherwise known as concessionary applicants and are allocated a ticket based on the availability of a seat when all eligible children have been catered for.
Bus Éireann will continue to process applications and seats will be offered where capacity exists.
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