Family Life

Education Minister details plans to change school transport scheme

The Minister for Education is due to give an update on her plans to improve the school transport system.

Minister Norma Foley is set to outline the significant changes in a Cabinet meeting later today, following a recent review of the scheme.

It is believed that some of the system’s overhaul will include changes to eligibility rules, such as reducing the distance qualification for families. The review also highlighted the need to support the transport scheme for environmental reasons, as it could help to reduce the number of individual car journeys.

Credit: Bus Éireann

It is hoped that the proposed changes will help thousands of children to access school transport in their local area. Currently, 160,000 school children across Ireland avail of the transport scheme.

With the current rules, students must choose the school nearest their home to get State-funded transport.

Under the current regulations, a primary school pupil must live at least 3.2km from their school to qualify for access to a school bus. Minister Foley’s plans hope that this measurement can be lowered to 2km, followed by 1km at a later date.

Similarly, secondary school students must live at least 4.8km from their school to qualify for access to the bus scheme. If funding allows, this distance could be reduced to 2km.

For this academic year, the cost of a bus ticket has been capped at €50 for a primary school pupil, and €75 for a secondary school student. The maximum fee for a family is €125. 

At the moment, it is understood that the proposed changes will not be introduced during this 2024/2025 school year. However, depending on funding, the overhaul could be welcomed in stages in the following academic year.

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