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  • Writer's picturePippa Hackett

Review of School Transport Scheme


I am delighted that the largest ever review of the School Transport Scheme has been published. Most especially I welcome the plans to improve the scheme to better suit the needs of pupils, parents and the planet.





Recommendations will be implemented on a phased basis, beginning with pilot projects from September 2024 and further changes from September 2025. We would undoubtedly like all the recommendations implemented tomorrow but the scale of the undertaking must be considered: The proposal is to expand the scheme from the current 161,000 students to 261,000 by 2030.

 


Cllr Mark Hackett, added “I am very aware of frustrations with the current system. Over the summer and autumn, school transport issues make up a good part of the calls I receive. I wrote to Minister Foley last year requesting the review be expedited and it is great not to have to wait for the outcome any longer. Now we wait for the recommendations to be implemented but I fully understand that buses need to be procured and additional drivers need to be trained and that takes time. The recommendations include reducing the distance from school to qualify for the scheme and eliminating the requirement for students to attend their ‘nearest school’. Most of these changes will be in place from September 2025.“

 


As well as serving the needs of students and their families, the School Transport Scheme has a role to play in reducing transport emissions and in reducing the number of car journeys. This was a consideration when the review was underway and the recommendations, especially the expansion of the scheme, reflect this. I particularly welcome the moves towards better integration of all options for travelling to school, including piloting the use of public transport for second level students. Overall, I believe we will see the School Transport System transforming over the coming years to a system which better suits the needs of all.

 


It was also confirmed today that the charges for the school transport scheme will remain at the same reduced rates for the upcoming 2024/2025 school year. The School Transport Scheme fee for a primary school child will be kept at €50 and €75 for a post- primary school child is. The maximum fee for a family is €125.

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