A SCHOOL bus operating between Kinsale and Nohoval broke down for the second time in the space of a week leaving students sitting pre-exams at Kinsale Community School stranded.
The bus suffered mechanical problems the previous week while on the afternoon school run, leaving the driver with burn injuries, while many students had to be collected by their parents.
Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard, who has previously highlighted issues regarding contracted buses breaking down, raised the issue in the Seanad last week.
‘The school bus from Nohoval to Kinsale has broken down for the third or fourth time over the last few days. It happened again last Tuesday morning where we had pre-exam students from Kinsale Community School at the crossroads in Nohoval waiting for the bus which never turned up,’ said Sen Lombard.
‘We had utter panic with some students arriving at 10.15am having missed the start of their exams. If we are to review the school transport scheme, we also need to ensure that the quality of the school transport is there too.’
He said some of the buses being used are up to 20 years old and are as ‘reliable as an Irish summer’ and that it’s not good enough for anyone.
‘We need to make sure that the quality of the transportation is there and the review of the school transport scheme is announced as time is ticking as this needs to be sorted by April or we will have another year with loads of debates. We need to get real action here.’
Sen Lombard said it’s vital that the review of the school transport scheme, which started two years ago, is published as soon as possible.
‘We need to know about the concessionary and whether that will be part of the new scheme or not.’
A Bus Éireann spokesperson said they received a report that there was a mechanical issue on that school transport contractor on Tuesday morning (February 7th).
‘Unfortunately, a replacement vehicle wasn’t available at short notice and the service was unable to operate. We apologise for the inconvenience caused to the students on this service,’ the spokesperson added.
‘A replacement vehicle was prioritised for the students and the service operated as normal in the afternoon.’