Update on School Transport for students in Laois and Offaly.
REMINDER: I would like to remind all parents and guardians that applications for school transport for the new school year 2022/23 will close on Friday 29 April 2022. This applies only for new applicants seeking primary and/or post-primary school transport for 2022/23. That includes:
Students starting school in September 2022
Students moving school, including those moving from primary to post-primary school
Students who have or will move address before the 2022/23 school year
I have been assured that all students who are eligible for school transport will receive seats if they have applied and paid by the relevant deadlines. School transport can mean the difference in being able to get to school or not. I encourage all those who are hoping for transport to go to the Bus Éireann website now, and in the case of new applications before next Friday. No fees are required at this point as the payment portal will open in June 2022. Further communication will be sent to registered applicant families in relation to payments for school transport for the new school year.
The reduced fares for School Transport were announced as part of a package of Government initiatives to encourage greater use of public transport services and to assist with the overall increased cost of living. The annual family maximum contribution for Post Primary transport will reduce from €650.00 to €500 for the 2022/23 school year, with the family maximum fare for Primary school transport reducing from €220 to €170.
I'm delighted that the the Department of Transport and National Transport Authority (NTA) confirmed that emergency public transport services will also be provided to Ukrainian refugees placed in rural locations.
The Department and the NTA will accelerate network improvements to support increased overall demand for public transport services, focusing on the need to respond to needs of Ukrainians in rural locations in Ireland.
I want us to do all we can to welcoming our Ukrainian guests. I am delighted that the Department of Transport and the National Transport Authority are working closely with TFI Local Link offices in rural Ireland to mobilise all available resources to strengthen our existing public transport services. They have committed to doing this practically and quickly by adding extra stops and routes where a need has been identified. We want to ensure that passengers have access to essential services such as shopping centres, places of employment, and medical centres.