August 20, 2020
Chaos over school transport lets down pupils and transport operators – Darren O’Rourke TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, has said this evening’s revelation that school buses will not run at full capacity for secondary students illustrates how the Government has failed to properly plan for the safe reopening of schools.
 
It has emerged that school buses for secondary pupils will run at 50% capacity, contrary to previous plans for 100% capacity.
 
Teachta O’Rourke said: “This development is indicative of the Government’s ongoing failure to properly plan for the safe reopening of schools and to engage with transport operators sufficiently.
 
“For the last month, transport operators and schools have been preparing for the start of the new school term based on the advice they received that buses would operate at full capacity.
 
“Operators have spent considerable sums of money getting ready, customers have already signed up and families have been making plans for the school commute.
 
“Now, just over a week before schools are due to reopen, this has been thrown into disarray. 
 
“The Government clearly has no understanding of what it means to run a school bus. Better consultation with transport operators could have averted this chaotic last minute change.
 
“Many vehicles will have a mix of primary and secondary pupils on board. It’s unclear what this development means for them.
 
“Operators must not be left out of pocket by the Government’s poor planning. If they are forced to forgo fares due to this decision, they deserve to be adequately compensated.
 
“With the new school term just days away, the poor handling of this issue does not bode well for the Government’s capability to reopen schools.”

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