Bus services have been withdrawn for a number of schools in Dublin, in what is set to be a major blow to thousands of pupils.
The move will mean large numbers of parents will have to drive their children unless they pay private bus operators more than €1,000 per child to drop them off.
Dublin Bus has written to principals in several schools telling them it is suspending the services.
Schools in Sutton, Tallaght, Templeogue and Greenhills have been told the public-transport service will not be in place when schools reopen. Nineteen schools are affected, the bus company confirmed.
The services were contracted out by Dublin Bus to private operators, but ceased in March when schools were closed due to Covid-19.
One mother explained how she was paying €250 a year per child to have her children picked up from a train and taken to a school in Sutton.
Lynn McDonnell, of Donabate, said the school had been told by Dublin Bus that it was no longer offering the public transport service.
A private operator is offering to fill the void, but the cost will be €1,050 a year per child.
Ms McDonnell has two children in Santa Sabina Dominican College, which means the family is facing a bill of €2,100.
The money has to be paid upfront and the cost will not change even if the children are allowed to attend school for only one or two days a week due to the virus.
Using existing bus services will leave them at least 3km away from the school.
Ms McDonnell said she was now faced with the prospect of driving her children from Donabate to Sutton, despite the congestion and environmental damage this would cause.
Letters sent by the head of operations at Dublin Bus, Donal Keating, to a number of schools state that the transport firm will not be renewing the school bus contract for the next school term.
Blamed for this is low usage on some contracted buses, alternative options in existing bus networks, and the BusConnects network redesign.
In the letters, alternative routes are outlined to each school by Mr Keating.
The letter states: "Whilst we recognise this may cause some changes for your pupils and staff that have used our services over the past years, we would be keen to ensure that public transport continues to be an effective means of travelling to and from school."
Rise TD for Dublin South-West Paul Murphy criticised Dublin Bus's decision.
He raised the issue during a meeting of the Dáil's Covid-19 committee earlier this month.
"Parents and students rely on this dedicated bus service.
"Rather than cutting back on it, we should be expanding the school transport scheme, to cut back on the number of cars on the roads, and the stress on parents." Mr Murphy said Dublin Bus's claim that children could just swap to existing bus routes was a "fig leaf".
Dublin Bus said it had a contract with the National Transport Authority (NTA) to provide a number of contracted services that included morning and evening trips for some schools.
Following a review, "it was determined that, the provision of these contracted services would be removed".
It said it had increased the service available on its existing routes that serve these areas.
Service levels in the bus network will be monitored over the coming months.
Additional services may be added where demand required, subject to the approval of the NTA, it said.
In 'Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe', Jane Wagner wrote: "I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain." There does seem to be a lot of it about at the moment; much of it is mere venting at circumstances which we can't do much about.