Supporting Local News

Families still in limbo over school bus tickets

The school bus tickets fiasco rumbled on this week as parents across the county reported a continued failure to provide adequate services to pupils left waiting at the bus stop.

One mother told the Connacht Tribune that her son has still not received his bus ticket, three weeks after he returned to school, despite countless attempts to secure a resolution with Bus Éireann.

In July, it was announced that school bus places were to be made free this year but no additional capacity has been added to the system.

Removing the €350 charge led to unprecedented demand for the service and now, many of those who previously paid for tickets have been refused a place this year.

Dympna Ginty from Ardrahan said she applied to Bus Éireann for her son and daughter in July and received her daughter’s ticket a couple of weeks later – but one for her son, a student at Clarin College in Athenry, never materialised.

“I’ve been in contact with Bus Éireann a few times; I’ve contacted local TDs. I keep getting back mixed messages from Bus Éireann – they told me to reapply so I sent the application form in and they email to say I’ll have the ticket in seven to ten days . . . then they’ll email saying he’s not eligible.

“I know he is eligible because his primary school is a feeder school for Clarin College. I would actually pay for a ticket at this stage – we had them every year up to now and always paid for them,” said Ms Ginty.

In the meantime, she must drive from Ardrahan to Athenry to drop her son to school every morning, before travelling to the city for work.

“It’s costing me in diesel; I’m nearly late for work; my husband has to leave work early in the evening to collect him and he’s entitled to a ticket. They had the tickets every year and they were never checked and I know some people who are just sending their children on the bus without the ticket because they’ve no choice,” she said.

Another mother, who didn’t wish to be named, told the Tribune that she had eventually secured a ticket for her child, but the buses were so packed that students were having to double up in the seats.

“There have been days when my daughter has got on the bus and there were no seats left at all. They don’t check the tickets so the buses are packed and it’s just not safe.

“It’s not every day, but there have been a few days and I think it’s because not all those who got the tickets are using them every day. Because they were free, people just got them to use the odd time when its suits, but there are people who need them five days a week and they can’t get one,” she said.

Meanwhile, TD for Roscommon Galway, Denis Naughten, this week received a commitment from the Minister for Education that Bus Éireann would continue to process applications and issue tickets as soon as extra buses and drivers are sourced.

“But disappointingly, the Minister is not guaranteeing that children and their siblings who had a bus service last year will get a service this year, as we now face into the third school week of the new term.

“It seems the Minister has forgotten that the core objective behind the school transport scheme is to bring children from rural areas to school, but in some instances the only ones who have benefited from the Government announcement are children in towns,” said Deputy Naughten.

He said while the idea of making school transport free to assist in the cost-of-living crisis was welcome, the absence of proper planning resulted in chaos that had yet to be resolved.

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