Sinn Féin recently launched proposals that would see an additional 17,000 seats funded on the School Transport Scheme in the next academic year and the elimination of fees over a five-year government term.
Sinn Féin TD for Cavan-Monaghan said;
“The School Transport Scheme is an essential service, catering for 114,000 children daily, but each year the service is substantially oversubscribed, leaving parents scrambling to arrange transport to school for their children if they do not get a seat on their local bus.
“Every summer, I speak with families who are struggling to meet the costs of the return to school. And every summer, the school transport hassle adds significantly to their stress – either they cannot get a seat for their child, or the costs associated with securing a seat will place a crippling financial burden on their family.
“Sinn Féin are proposing to invest €17m to deliver 17,000 extra places in the next academic year, eliminate fees at a cost of €13.8m over a five-year government term and allocate €5m for the purchase of new school buses next year.
“Our plans will add more buses and routes, reduce carbon emissions from the transport sector, cut back to school costs for families and encourage the use of public transport from a young age.
“Crucially our proposals will provide significantly more seats on the School Transport Scheme, removing the yearly stress for thousands of families trying to secure a seat on their local school bus.
“Sinn Féin have long stressed the importance of affordable and accessible school transport for all families. It is extremely disappointing that the Government does not share this objective.
“School bus fees can add hundreds of euro to the back to school costs for families. In Government Sinn Féin will abolish these fees, taking some financial pressure off families at this time of year.
“In terms of climate action, the transport sector currently accounts for over 20% of our total carbon emissions, so if we are to meet our 2030 and 2050 climate targets, we need urgent action in this area now.
“Our expanded School Transport Scheme would cater for 131,000 children daily, removing 40,250 car journeys from our roads each day, helping to reduce carbon emissions from the transport sector.”
Note: Expanding Our School Bus Transport System policy document available here.