03 Oct 2022

Louth TD claims pupils and parents are in limbo after losing 'concessionary’ seats on school buses

Louth TD claims pupils and parents are in limbo after losing 'concessionary’ seats on school buses

Ged Nash

Louth TD Ged Nash has criticised the government for what he says is a lack of planning in relation to school bus places which has left students and parents in limbo and unsure if they will have a place on buses for the coming school year.

The Labour TD has further said the government’s failure to invest in additional fleet capacity is making a mockery of school transport schemes.

In a statement to the Democrat Deputy Nash said:

“Over the past few weeks, I have been inundated with messages from concerned parents who are frantically trying to secure a school bus place for their children.

“With the return of schools fast approaching, many families have been left in the lurch after losing what are termed ‘concessionary’ tickets due to the current lack of school bus capacity.  

"This comes off the back of the predicted soaring demand for school bus places since the government waived fees this year. Consequently, parents and pupils who in previous years enjoyed access concessionary tickets are now losing out.

“Many exam-year students have been left with the stress of finding a last minute solution to get to school with parents and guardians facing real challenges in terms of meeting work commitments if their children do not have access to a school bus.

“I have been in constant contact with Bus Eireann about this issue. Their officials have informed me that one of the main challenges they face is “the availability of buses and drivers within current public procurement guidelines”. Put simply, Bus Eireann’s hands have been tied due to a lack of Government investment in the school bus fleet.

“This school bus crisis was entirely predictable and avoidable. While the announcement to suspend school bus fees earlier this year was welcome, the Government has made a mockery of this by failing to put additional bus capacity in place as we advised them to do.

“Yet again the Government is being “penny wise, but pound foolish” when it comes to both our cost of living and climate crises. They now risk pushing more parents out of work and more school children back into cars.

“I’ll be raising this issue directly with the Minister for Education and demanding she takes urgent action to increase the existing school bus fleet.

"I’ll also be making it clear that Louth & East Meath students have consistently secured concessionary seats in previous years must also be catered for."


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