Saturday 10 December 2016

School bus service at a crossroads and there is no easy choice of route

Published 01/06/2016 | 02:30

Smaller buses and, ultimately, fewer passengers on this heavily subsidised service could yield big savings and was a logical step
for the accountants. But, at what cost to a Government that is
promising to revitalise rural Ireland? (Photo by: Photofusion/UIG via Getty Images)
Smaller buses and, ultimately, fewer passengers on this heavily subsidised service could yield big savings and was a logical step for the accountants. But, at what cost to a Government that is promising to revitalise rural Ireland? (Photo by: Photofusion/UIG via Getty Images)

Traversing more than 6,500 routes and 93 million kilometres of Irish roads every year, school buses are a feature of daily life in every parish in rural Ireland. Even after changing the eligibility rules in 2011, they carry 113,000 primary and post primary pupils to and from school every day.

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The rule changes were part of cost-saving and revenue-increasing measures implemented in an effort to contain the ever-rising cost of the service.

Changes included the introduction of a charge for primary school children, and they also made it harder for pupils to be eligible for a seat.

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