Wicklow Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore has called on Bus Eireann to urgently resolve the major difficulties being faced by parents across the county who have recently been notified that there is no place on local school transport services for their children.
Worried parents from areas including Rathdrum, Roundwood, Garden Village and Wicklow Town have been informed there are no place for theit children on the local school bus, according to Whitmore.
In many instances, emails were only sent to parents the day before the school term began, leaving many families scrambling to try get their children to school – this is despite parents pre-paying for a seat in July.
TD Whitmore said: “I have been in touch with Bus Eireann to try to resolve this issue as it is causing undue stress for parents and students. Hopefully, Bus Eireann will be in a position to rectify these problems and ensure children can get to school safely.
“However, I do believe this issue is reflective of a much bigger problem that seems to be an annual occurrence.”
Whitmore has called for the School Transport programme to be overhauled, and for focus to be placed on the provision of a school bus service for any student living in a rural area that is unable to cycle or walk safely to school.
“We all know that many of our rural roads are not safe for our children to cycle on and that oftentimes, due to a lack of school places, children are forced to go to school in a different locality,” she continued. “Getting as many children onto buses as possible will have many benefits, including easing traffic pressure on our roads, reducing emissions and giving students greater independence.
“It also means that parents don’t have to spend much of their day driving to schools and waiting in school carparks. It’s a win win for everyone, and it really does amaze me that simple measure such as these appear beyond the Government to implement. I will raise this issue with the Minister for Education in the hope that improvements can be made.”