Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West, Aindrias Moynihan has said that the Minister for Education must review the legislation underpinning the School Transport Scheme to remove anomalies that are affecting children going to their preferred school.
At present, we have the ludicrous situation whereby Bus Éireann calculates route distances on the basis of shortest traversable distance on foot and not by car or bus.
“This rule is causing children and families to lose out on attending their preferred school.
Deputy Moynihan was commenting after a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education Skills where officials from Bus Éireann attempted to answer questions from TDs and Senators.
“At that meeting, Gerry Gannon from Bus Éireann informed us that ‘it is the shortest traversable distance by a pedestrianised route’ that is used.
“In many situations, you can go from A to B quicker on foot as there are no prohibitions on travel such as one way streets or no right/left turns.
“It doesn’t make sense to me that Bus Éireann calculates route distances on the basis of distance travelled by foot rather than actual distance travelled by bus.
“Changes are required in the legislation to remove this anomaly. The current criteria do not reflect the reality on the ground for families and change is needed.
“Minister Halligan needs to urgently address this situation. Over the next number of weeks, we will see many parents getting very frustrated after their children get refused a place on a school bus or told that the school bus will only take them to one school over another.
“The system should be flexible enough to cater for the reality of life on the ground in rural Ireland. A one size fits all approach doesn’t work,” concluded Moynihan.