Deputy Michael Lowry and members of the Regional Group of TDs, have published a Dáil Motion imploring the Government to address the mounting problems disrupting the school transport scheme.
This Motion, which comes before the Dáil next week and calls for immediate and comprehensive reform.
The school transport scheme is pivotal in ensuring access to school for more than 149,000 children, including more than 18,000 children with Special Educational Needs according to the Dáil Group.
The Motion notes the lack of access to public transport in rural areas and, therefore, the need for a fit-for-purpose School Transport Scheme for all students requiring transport to their nearest school, irrespective of distance.
The Regional Independents are seeking to achieve a reduction in car journeys and to provide better compensation to Private Bus Operators in the school transport scheme in addition to addressing a number of flaws in the current scheme as regards the age cap for drivers, the allocation of concessionary tickets, inadequate support for Special Needs children and late notifications of non-allocation of tickets.
In addition, the group are seeking the immediate release of a Department of Education Review of the School Transport Scheme as the current Scheme operates on guidelines issued in 2012. The Review commenced in 2021 and an interim report was published in June 2021.