Local coach operators could help with shortage of school buses

October 3rd, 2020 11:40 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

More buses are needed for school runs.

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LOCAL coach operators are crying out for work after being devastated by the pandemic and could be the solution to the school bus shambles that is yet again seeing children left without transport.

That’s according to councillors who said parents are routinely late for work as they have to take kids to school, with Cllr Danny Collins saying he knows of one parent who was forced to quit her job due to transport issues.

At a meeting of the local authority last week Cllr William O’Leary (FF), who called for a suspension of standing orders, said the school bus crisis is a ‘national scandal’ and that ‘it beggars all belief’ what’s going on at the moment.

‘Covid or no Covid, I guarantee you we’d still be in the same situation with the lack of seats on buses and people being left off buses. No one is accountable and no one is taking responsibility. The mental anguish this is putting on families is beyond all belief,’ said the North Cork-based councillor.

‘Parents are being late for work because they are having to take their kids to school. I won’t stand over the government of the day not getting pupils to school. Where are we going in this country if we can’t get people to the school of their choice?’

Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) agreed that it’s nothing to do with Covid and it’s an annual problem and said it’s a ludicrous situation. ‘The school transport scheme is not working, it’s about time to change. Now is the time to fix it for next year as this year is  a shambles already,’ said Cllr Carroll.

Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) said one parent he knows has had to give up her job so she could drive her kids to school.

‘There’s plenty of transport out there and I spoke with the owner of Cremin Coaches in Bantry and he said he has the buses ready, but they are not giving him the funding necessary,’ said Cllr Collins.

Cllr Ben Dalton O’Sullivan (Ind) said that in the middle of a pandemic local coach operators are crying out for work as their businesses have been decimated.

Cork South West Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan raised the problem in the Dáil recently after being inundated with calls and emails about the situation.

‘This seems to be particularly problematic in Kinsale, Belgooly, Timoleague and other parts of the constituency where buses are full to capacity,’ he said.

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