Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Thomas Byrne TD has reacted with disappointment to the news that the Department of Education is proposing no changes to the School Transport Scheme.
Deputy Byrne said, “Last summer public representatives across the country were inundated with queries from worried parents whose children had lost their concessionary place on school buses. This is despite the fact that Minister John Halligan had previously stated that students who hold a concessionary school bus ticket would not lose their bus pass pending the outcome of a value for money review.
“The review has now been published and it proposes no changes to the scheme, which indicates that more children will lose their buss pass in the months ahead. School bus places were already cut back right across the country at the start of the school term, despite the commitment made by Minister Halligan. It now looks like even more bus passes will be lost.
“Minister Halligan also stated that a cross party committee would meet at the end of July and over August to try and help resolve the outstanding problems with the school transport scheme. This review appears to be the outcome of that process. It is deeply dissatisfying. The review had two meetings, one to obtain a summary of the scheme from the Department and another which ended up being a forum to swap contact details with Bus Éireann at which they committed to better customer service.
“I have been calling for a change and improvement in how school transport is rolled out across the country. Public representatives from all political backgrounds are overwhelmed with queries from parents who are understandably worried that their children will be left without school transport. The lack of progress made by Minister Halligan in this area to date is deeply troubling,” concluded Deputy Byrne.