Supporting Local News

Dearth of bus drivers leaves students stranded

More than 50 second level students have been left without school transport because of a critical lack of bus drivers to run the service.

Two routes from the Castlehackett and Corofin areas into Tuam have been suspended since September 20 – leaving dozens of students stranded or forcing their parents to drive them in.

It affects students, whose parents have received tickets for these services, who are primarily attending High Cross College in Tuam (the amalgamated Mercy and Presentation secondary schools).

In a letter to affected parents, Bus Éireann said that a number of difficulties have arisen with a number of contracted services.

They said that every effort was being made to prioritise arrangements so that transport could be sourced and put in place as soon as possible.

“While routes were established, we are encountering a number of routes handed back at short notice, against a backdrop of localised driver shortages being experienced by contractors to the School Transport Scheme.

“We continue to recruit contractors to the scheme and are making steady and regular progress in resolving routes.”

Local Cllr Mary Hoade has appealed to directly to Education Minister Norma Foley, asking her to intervene, slamming the Bus Éireann response as ‘not good enough’.

The absence of a school bus service affects those travelling from the townlands of Feeragh, Pollinahalla, Manusflynn and down towards Corofin.

In her correspondence with Minister Foley, the Headford area councillor has said that there is a long overdue need for the reform of the school transport system.

“There have been number of disruptions to the service operated by Bus in Éireann in the Galway region that have occurred since schools re-opened in late August,” she said.

“I have received a number of representations from very concerned parents on the two routes where their children received a ticket for this service, but there is now no service.

“A similar situation occurred with students travelling to Presentation College in Headford two week ago.  This is a very stressful time for many parents.

“There are situations in which both parents work, and this is causing major difficulties. Some families may only have one car, and this is adding to the problem.

“The current policy of Bus Eireann not allowing anyone over 66 to drive a bus needs to be looked at, given the shortage of drivers that currently exists.

“The other area that needs to be addressed is the fact that bus tickets are booked and paid for in April, and not allocated until the end of August when schools are about to re-open,” added Cllr Hoade.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up