Update from the Minister in relation to School Transport Scheme

Ciarán Cannon, T.D.,
Minister for Training and Skills.

Three key changes are taking effect from next September. The distance requirement will be applied uniformly to all pupils travelling under the primary scheme, charges will apply and the minimum eligible number required for a service is increasing to 10.

From September 2012 a further change is scheduled. This will restrict eligibility to those travelling to their nearest school. Available statistics, based on sampling, indicate that the impact of this particular change will be limited. This is particularly so when account is taken of the fact that the latter change will not effect children who have commenced their schooling up to and including 2011/2012.

Before implementing the change proposed for 2012, my Department has requested Bus Éireann to conduct a detailed analysis of its on the ground impact for individual schools and the rural communities they serve. This analysis will be based on the most up to date information available on current school transport usage patterns and I expect to have it available to me this summer. I will then have an opportunity to carefully examine the likely effects of the proposed change well in advance of the 2012 implementation date.