Waterford students left waiting in school bus limbo
Fianna Fáil TD for Waterford, Mary Butler, has said that the School Bus Scheme is facing significant challenges that are causing real stress and anxiety to parents and pupils alike in Waterford.
She commented: “I have been inundated with calls, texts and emails from parents of children who should have a place on a school bus but have been left high and dry by inexcusable inflexibility by Bus Éireann."
“In particular, students travelling to the Blackwater Community School in Lismore from a catchment area which includes Aglish and Ballinameela are uncertain as to how they will travel to school this September. Many other schools across the constituency are in the same position."
“For the last number of years, the restrictions laid down by Bus Éireann in relation to qualifying and concessionary tickets for pupils are incredibly rigid and inflexible."
"A Bus Éireann official for School Transport informed me that ‘their hands are tied as they are also adhering to the strict terms and conditions of the Contract as set out by the Department of Education’. This problem is well known within the Department of Education with a complete inflexibility to make any changes."
“Parents have come to me exasperated as their children have lost their seat on the bus, despite the fact that they had already paid the appropriate fee in a timely manner. The transition from Primary School to Secondary School can be stressful enough for pupils and parents without having the additional worry of not having a place on the school bus."
“We need the Minister for Education and his Department to once and for all stop the yearly panic for parents and pupils looking for school transport – and put in place the necessary capacity that is required,” concluded Deputy Butler.