Bus Éireann school scheme slammed as ‘antiquated’ and ‘broken’ by councillors

The council agreed to invite Bus Éireann and the Department of Education to a Development Strategic Policy Committee
Bus Éireann school scheme slammed as ‘antiquated’ and ‘broken’ by councillors

THE school bus scheme operated by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education came under fire at Cork County Council, with councillors calling it “antiquated”, “broken” and a “shambles”. Picture Denis Minihane.

THE school bus scheme operated by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education came under fire at Cork County Council, with councillors calling it “antiquated”, “broken” and a “shambles”.

A motion brought by North Cork Fianna Fáil councillor Frank O’Flynn gathered support from his colleagues, with Fianna Fáil Councillor Seamus McGrath calling it “Groundhog day”.

Fianna Fáil Councillor Gillian Coughlan said it “beggars belief” that the system remains an issue and said it appeared there was not a lot of planning put into the system that was causing a lot of distress. 

“I’m losing faith in Bus Eireann, the entire system needs to be overhauled,” Mrs Coughlan said.

Fianna Fáil Councillor William O’Leary said it had gone beyond a joke. “The guidelines are outdated and redundant by about 10 years.”

Fine Gael Councillor Kevin Murphy said there were a number of top class retired drivers who were more than capable of the job that couldn’t apply due to the age cap.

Councillor Seamus McGrath said he wanted to know who decides new applicants could get seats ahead of returning students, while Independent Councillor Paul Hayes said it was a ‘hot topic’ in West Cork. 

Bus Éireann acknowledged the unprecedented demand for school transport scheme this year.

“In Co Cork Bus Éireann has to date issued 15,200 tickets, an increase of 6% on last year’s figures. In response to increased demand, Bus Éireann have nationally to date secured over 272 additional school transport vehicles and 116 services have had larger capacity vehicles added to the service, or the route extended nationwide.”

Bus Éireann said there were no plans to extend the driver cap at present. The council agreed to invite Bus Éireann and the Department of Education to a Development Strategic Policy Committee (SPC).

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