Previous government commitments to downsize school buses will now not be carried out this September. Such was the public backlash to the announcement that the decision has now been referred to an all-party committee for review. The government has committed to reviewing the decision before the Budget, but not in time for September.
The state currently pays €175 million for the school bus transport scheme and recoups €20 million of this from fee-paying pupils travelling on school transport. In an effort to make greater savings, it had been announced at the beginning of the year that school buses would now be smaller and that those paying for school transport, or the “concessionary” ticket holders, may no longer have a place on their bus.
The Department have stated that given the ongoing growth in concessionary numbers, they were “working with Bus Éireann with a view to downsizing the buses required to transport eligible children which will commence on a phased basis in the coming school year 2016/17”.