Bus Éireann must revisit over 70s ban on school bus drivers – Crowe
06 September 2023
Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling for a reverse in the policy of Bus Éireann to stop anybody over 70 years of age driving on school bus routes.
It comes as six school transport routes in Co. Clare are now left without a bus, due to driver and vehicle issues, leaving children across the county with no way to school.
“I am calling on Bus Éireann to immediately reconsider their policy of having a cut-off point at 70 years of age for drivers operating school bus services,” said Deputy Crowe.
“At the moment, there is a crisis in terms of trying to provide enough drivers to fulfil all designated bus services throughout the country and in many instances, private coach operators who have contracted themselves to the Department of Education and Bus Éireann have highly competent drivers over the age of 70 who are unable to fulfil morning and afternoon school runs.
“Bizarrely, these same drivers are allowed during the day to bring children to and from school matches or swimming lessons – so long as it’s not a school drop-off or collection.
“It makes very little sense to me and has left so many communities strung out as we begin a new school year.
“The obvious change that needs to happen here is that Bus Éireann change their policy so that drivers over the age of 70 can continue to drive school buses, subject to regular medical check-ups.
“A change to this effect would immediately free up several hundred drivers who could readily slot into morning and afternoon school bus services.
“In my own constituency, there are now six bus routes without drivers fulfilling them which is hugely discommoding parents.
“Some are taking time off work or carpooling and most of these parents found out that there wouldn’t be a service on the last day of the school holidays – they had no lead-in time to make alternative plans, even if they could.
“This crisis will only be ended when there are more drivers available.
“A policy change, which could be taken by the board of Bus Éireann very quickly, would go a long way to resolving this crisis and ensuring that children have a seamless school journey without parents being inconvenienced.”