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Eligibility

The following text is taken from DES Circular Letter Conditions for Primary School Transport: Primary School Transport Scheme.

1.1 To be eligible for school transport a child must be:

  • Over 4 years of age and living not less than 2 miles from the nearest suitable national school as determined by the Department of Education and Skills.
  • In the case of amalgamations, the national school children for whom the closed national school would have been the nearest, had it remained open, are eligible for transport to the school of amalgamation only.
  • For pupils who are attending all-Irish or multi-denominational schools, eligibility is determined by reference to the distance to the nearest such school.
  • In the case of a child attending a school other than a one-teacher school, s/he shall not as a rule be regarded as ineligible for transport to the school s/he is attending simply because his/her home is nearer to the one-teacher school.

1.2  Apart from those cases provided for above the following conditions must be fulfilled to warrant the establishment of a transport service to a national school:

  • There must be a sufficient number of children in a distinct locality attending their nearest national school to ensure that the average daily number of eligible children conveyed each term is not less than 7. (A service to convey a group of children whose homes are at scattered points in a school district would not be approved.)

1.3 A transport service to the nearest suitable school may also be established, provided this can be done within reasonable cost limits, in the following cases:

  • Where there are not less than 7 eligible children in a distinct locality and who:
    • are attending their nearest suitable school as determined by the Department
    • are available for transport;
  • where there are 5 such children in a distinct locality residing at least 3 miles from the school;
  • where there are 4 such children in a distinct locality residing not less than 4 miles from the school;
  • where there are 3 such children in a distinct locality residing not less than 5 miles from the school.

1.4  The service may be continued for as long as there are four eligible children and a minimum of six fare-paying children availing themselves of the service.

1.5  Where any special school transport service is established, the routes are planned so that all children in the distinct locality will have at least a basic level of service. Children who live away from the route are expected to get or be brought to the nearest convenient pick-up point on the route. Spurs off the main route will not be operated for such children. As a rule, the routes will be planned so that no pupil will have more than 1.5 miles to travel to a pickup point.

1.6  For fully eligible pupils residing remote from a pickup point or outside the range of school transport service a Remote Area or Scheme D grant may be paid per family.

1.7  Where there is no transport available, pupils unable to attend school due to illness/disability, unless conveyed by transport, may be eligible for a grant, subject to satisfactory attendance, towards the cost of private transport arrangements

1.8   Special conditions for the conveyance of Protestant children to national schools under Protestant management.

A transport service may be established under this scheme, provided this can be done within reasonable cost limits, where there is a sufficient number of eligible children in a distinct locality who are attending their nearest suitable school as determined by the Department, to ensure that the average daily number of eligible children conveyed each term would not be less than 5.

The Concession of Fare-Paying Facilities on Special School Buses

2.1  Where spare seats are available on special school services after all children eligible for free transport have been accommodated, fare-paying facilities may be granted:

  • to children who are ineligible for free transport on distance grounds, to enable them to travel on the special services which operate to their nearest suitable school as determined by the Department;
  • to children who are eligible for free transport to their nearest school but for whom there is no transport service available to that school, to enable them to travel on special school transport services to their next nearest school.

2.2  Where transport is sought on behalf of basically eligible children to a school other than the nearest school or appropriate school of amalgamation, the granting of transport may be considered only if documentary evidence of the agreement of the authorities of the nearest school or of the school of amalgamation as appropriate is submitted to the Department of Education and Skills. Such evidence is not required in the case above.
 

2. The concession may be renewed from term to term.

2.4. Application for fare-paying tickets, except in the case of 2 above, should be made direct by the parents to the local Bus Éireann office. The appropriate term fare and a STAMPED ADDRESSED ENVELOPE should be enclosed when applying to Bus Éireann. The family identity number should be quoted in all cases.

2.5  Parents should note that:

  • Applications with remittances for the purchase of concessionary term tickets should be received by Bus Éireann not less than four weeks prior to commencement of term. Fare-paying travel permits for all spare accommodation will be issued to both primary and post-primary pupils on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Routes will not be extended or altered, nor will larger vehicles or extra trips be provided, to cater for fare-paying children.
  • The fare-paying facility applies only to transport on special school services. It does not apply to transport on public scheduled bus services.

Children who are eligible for free transport to their nearest primary school, but for whom there is no transport available to that school, may be allowed incidental free transport to their next nearest school, provided that their parents/legal guardians are medical card holders. This facility applies to transport on special school buses and public scheduled services, where such are incidentally available. The concession will be granted to these children while they continue to be basically eligible for transport to their appropriate school.

Where this concession is being applied for, parents/legal guardians should submit their medical cards to the local Bus Éireann office before the deadline for receipt of remittances. A STAMPED ADDRESSED ENVELOPE should accompany the application.

Children who are granted free transport under this concession will not count towards the retention of a service not will any additional State cost be incurred in improving their standard of service.

5 General

5.1  School transport services are operated by Bus Éireann who, as agents of the Department of Education and Skills, are required to make the necessary local arrangements in the most economic way possible.

5.2  The granting of facilities under the terms of this scheme will be at the discretion of the Minister for Education and Skills.

5.3  The fact that transport facilities have been held by children contrary to the terms of the scheme in no way confers on the recipients a continuing right to the facility.