Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Charlie McConalogue TD has called on Bus Éireann to review the renewal process for the school transport scheme and allow applicants the option to apply and pay for bus tickets by Post.
The renewal process has been changed this year to an online only service and Deputy McConalogue believes this is causing great difficulty for those in homes that do not have access to broadband or for those that are not confident using the web.
He commented: “In the past, the process was completed by sending payment and copies of relevant documents such as medical cards to the local Bus Éireann office. However, the new process is done entirely online and many people are finding this very difficult.
“The new online process has failed to take account of the fact that broadband is either very poor or non-existent in many rural areas across the country. Furthermore, there are also a number of families that cannot afford to have a computer or laptop in their own home. Many families also face numerous difficulties trying to register as a result of not having the up to date versions of the internet software needed to use Bus Éireann online registration system.
“This new directive introduced by Bus Éireann must be changed to allow for details to be submitted via post directly to local Bus Éireann offices. With the deadline for registration and payment set for this Friday 25th July, and only 26,000 families out a total of 70,000 having registered so far, it is crucial that Bus Éireann extend the application options urgently to avoid unnecessary stress to families trying to register this week in advance of the deadline.
“Although the new online system may be more convenient for many, this new process does not work for all, particularly those in rural communities and Bus Éireann need to expand the registration options available in order to resolve this urgently.”