Fianna Fail TD for Cavan/Monaghan Brendan Smith has called on the Minister for Education to increase school bus capacity immediately to help cope with the large number of students unable to access transport due to much reduced capacity in recent months.
Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “I called upon the Minister to make a statement on this issue and to increase school bus capacity in the 2020-2021 school year, so that those students who have been unable to access transport due to restrictions and reduced resources, can be accommodated.”
In response, the Minister for Education stated that 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.
The Minister’s statement added: “Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only and will be facilitated where spare seats are available after eligible children have been accommodated. Where the number of ineligible children exceeds the number of spare seats available Bus Éireann allocates tickets for the spare seats using an agreed selection process.”
The Minister explained that due to NPHET advice in August, which advised reduced capacity on post-primary services to 50% of passenger capacity, the Government agreed to provide the necessary funding to ensure that full implementation of this public health recommendation is achieved as quickly as possible.
The Minister’s statement concluded: “As the additional capacity is rolled out, where spare capacity is created, further tickets will be allocated to those children eligible for the scheme who have paid late and for other applicants seeking concessionary tickets.”