Sinn Féin today 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 spokesperson on Transport Darren O’Rourke TD 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.
“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 would add more buses and routes, reduce carbon emissions from the transport sector, cut back school costs for families, and encourage the use of public transport from a young age.
“Crucially, our plans would 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.
“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 targeted actions 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.”
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD said:
“Every summer, I speak with families who are struggling to meet the costs of returning to school. And every summer, the school transport palaver 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 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.
“Our proposals have the ability to transform the school transport system into one which works for the whole school community.”
- The proposals can be read here.