Calls for major expansion to Kilkenny’s School Transport Scheme
A local TD is calling for a significantly increase in School Transport Scheme places so that no child, literally, gets left behind.
Deputy Kathleen Funchion this week launched proposals for an additional 17,000 seats funded on the scheme in the next academic year
Some 114,000 students across the country currently avail of the scheme. But Deputy Funchion says many parents still have issues physically getting their children delivered to schools.
The Carlow-Kilkenny TD said: “The School Transport Scheme is an essential service, catering for 114,000 children daily, but each year the service is substantially oversubscribed, leaving parents scrambling to arrange transport to school for their children if they do not get a seat on their local bus.
“Every summer, I speak with families in Carlow and Kilkenny who are struggling to meet the costs of the return to school. And every summer, the school transport palaver adds significantly to their stress – either they cannot get a seat for their child, or the costs associated with securing a seat will place a crippling financial burden on their family.”
Sinn Féin want €17 million to be invested to deliver 17,000 extra places in the next academic year, to eliminate fees at a cost of €13.8 million over a five-year government term and to allocate €5 million for the purchase of new school buses next year.
Deputy Funchion (picturd below) added: “This will add more buses and routes, reduce carbon emissions from the transport sector, cut back to school costs for families and encourage the use of public transport from a young age.
“Crucially our proposals will provide significantly more seats on the School Transport Scheme, removing the yearly stress for thousands of families trying to secure a seat on their local school bus.
“School bus fees can add hundreds of euros to the back-to-school costs for families. Our expanded School Transport Scheme would cater for 131,000 children daily, removing 40,250 car journeys from our roads each day, helping to reduce carbon emissions from the transport sector.”