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27th Feb 2024

Parents warned ahead of major change to school transport system 

Jody Coffey

School Transport

Around 161,000 students use the school transportation system in Ireland

Today, Education Minister Norma Foley will put forward plans to change the school transport system.

In this morning’s Cabinet meeting, plans to overhaul the school transport system will be put before Cabinet in the hopes that more students will become eligible for the school transport scheme in the coming years, according to the Irish Independent.

It is proposed that the current rules that dictate a child must go to the ‘nearest school’ to avail of a bus place will be scrapped.

The ‘nearest school’ rule requires children applying to the school transport scheme to be students at the school closest to their home.

Under these rules, a primary school pupil must live at least 3.2 km from their school to qualify for a seat on a bus.

This radius will be as small as 2km and then 1km, depending on funding.

Meanwhile, a secondary school student is required to live at least 4.8 km from their school to secure a bus place.

Under new funding, this distance may be reduced to 2km.

When will the changes be introduced?

However, the rules will remain as they are for the 2024–25 academic year due to bus and bus driver numbers.

The upcoming review recommends phasing changes up to 2030, which includes the ‘nearest school’ rule.

Presently, approximately 161,000 students avail of the school transportation system.

The proposed changes could significantly increase the number of students who qualify for the programme.

Fees for the School Transport Scheme for the 2024–25 school year will remain at €50 for a primary school child and €75 for secondary school students. The maximum fee for a family is €125.