TD Mattie McGrath said that the ‘archaic’ system was facing a worrying backlog.
OVER 3,000 PUPILS were refused a bus ticket for school this year, according to new figures from the Department of Education.
The figures, released to Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath, show that 3,100 students were refused or not allocated bus tickets for the coming year.
School transport has repeatedly been raised as a difficult issue for parents, with the Covid-19 pandemic and concerns about social distancing this year raising additional questions over safety and capacity.
The figures show that of the 3,100 who were unsuccessful in obtaining a bus ticket, 437 appeals were received by the School Transport Appeals Board. However, just one appeal was successful – with 195 appeals either disallowed or resolved in the meantime.
McGrath was critical of the delay in processing applications – with 230 appeals still awaiting a decision while Bus Éireann sends information to the School Transport Appeals Board.
The closing date for school transport applications was 24 April.
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“It is unbelievable that we are now well into September and the School Transport Appeals Board does not even have the necessary information available to it to process the appeals that have been submitted. The system is just archaic and not fit for purpose,” McGrath said.
“It is not acceptable that the review of the School transport scheme should be delayed as a result of Covid-19, given the fact that Covid-19 has in fact exacerbated the problems associated with the school transport scheme. With 3,100 students left to find alternative arrangements, the Government need to move on this and move urgently,” he said.