IT is almost impossible for children to get a school bus in West Cork, where he or she is just outside the eligibility area, Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard has told the Upper House.
‘There is no leniency and discretionary tickets are fading away because of population increases, in particular in the larger towns and villages close to schools,’ the West Cork senator said.
‘That means there is a knock-on effect on children in rural areas who cannot access a school bus service,’ he told the Senate.
‘The system is currently ineffective because it discriminates down to the square mile, or even in terms of a matter of a hundred yards, as in some cases I have encountered in recent weeks,’ he said.
‘In fairness to Bus Éireann and other providers, they are only following the letter of the law.
‘There must be a total change in the 314 districts in place now and the way we ensure bus services get pupils to schools.’
He continued: ‘There is a degree of discrimination involved here. If one is far away, one is excluded and told one is in the catchment of another school.
‘That does not always work depending on the parish one lives in or the local demographics.’