Give school bus places for all affected at a cost of just €1.4m: FF
Fianna Fáil has called for the introduction of a "school bus guarantee" in the October Budget.
It believes this will prevent more than 1,000 pupils from losing their place.
The party said its proposal, which would cost the State just €1.4m, would ensure children would not lose a school bus place after being allocated one on a concessionary basis upon starting school.
Each year, hundreds of pupils find themselves in limbo just days out from returning to their studies and are not told whether they will be allocated a place.
This is due to the strict criteria surrounding the school transport scheme, which states that a primary child must live at least 3.2km from their nearest school, while a post-primary pupil must live at least 4.8km away.
When all children meeting these criteria have been given a place, Bus Éireann offers leftover seats to other applicants. These are known as 'concessionary' places.
Junior Minister John Halligan has said the scheme would expand in future, but not in time for this year. He met with more of the families affected yesterday.
But Fianna Fáil's education spokesperson Thomas Byrne said the Budget should be used to bring an end to the "ridiculous annual ordeal" facing families. He said this should be done through a "guarantee" he claimed would cost just €1.4m.
"The Government can put an end to this administrative nightmare once and for all by introducing a guarantee ensuring that children cannot lose a school bus place once one had been allocated to them. This guarantee would apply to children who receive so-called 'concessionary tickets' at the start of their school careers.
"Thereafter they would be treated as eligible ticket holders," Mr Byrne said.
"I have estimated that there are over 1,000 such pupils who lose these concessionary tickets on an annual basis.
"The school bus guarantee would cost in the region of about €1.4m."
Meanwhile, the parents of eight children in the community of Lagganstown, Co Tipperary, have been refused seats on the bus to the primary school at New Inn.
Some were seeking concessionary seats, but at least one family believes their child should be automatically eligible for a place on the bus under the rules relating to the distance to the school.
A statement released by the parents after their meeting with Mr Halligan said it had been "constructive".
It said Mr Halligan listened to all of the individual cases and undertook to review their appeals.
A Bus Éireann spokeswoman said those pupils who had not secured a place could apply for one on a concessionary basis.