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Bus Éireann and Department of Education slammed over school transport

Saturday, 12th September, 2020 10:02am
Bus Éireann and Department of Education slammed over school transport

Tipp TDs have voiced their concern about the ongoing school transport debacle.

Bus Éireann and Department of Education slammed over school transport

Tipp TDs have voiced their concern about the ongoing school transport debacle.

 “The situation regarding school transport across Tipperary is the worst I’ve seen in my time in politics,” said local TD Alan Kelly.

“The behaviour of Bus Éireann and the Department of Education is scandalous, especially given the Covid-19 pandemic. There are students across Tipperary who still have no bus tickets despite parents and guardians trying to purchase them. There are students on medical cards who can’t get tickets. There are students whose parents part paid for tickets and have had their payments returned. 

“Bus Éireann closed the booking portal early this year despite the fact they have never done that before. The question has to be asked: Why? Who instructed them? Was it the Department of Education? If so how is this justifiable?

“When NPHET changed their guidance regarding how many students should be on buses and then this was communicated to the department, it seems the shutters came down because the Department and bus Éireann felt they couldn’t service the demand for new buses and drivers. This is abhorrent. To leave students and parents in this limbo is so unfair and wrong.

“Remember Bus Éireann are getting over €15m this year and should be facilitating students and getting them to school. This year of all years. I raised the issue with the Taoiseach last week and I expect the Government to sort these issues out immediately. I want to thank many of the bus drivers for being so flexible regarding tickets over the last few weeks. It’s not fair though that they are put in this situation. At the end of the say the students should come first. The Government would do well to remember that.”

Meanwhile Deputy Michael Lowry called on Minister for Education and Skills, Norma Foley, “to act as quickly as possible to address this crucial issue. He commented: “I am appealing to you to appoint a senior official immediately to tackle this issue head on, to ensure that the €11.3 million allocated to Bus Éireann is being used as intended and to give urgent consideration to availing of the services of private bus operators in this time of need.”

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