Children across Laois have been unable to secure seats on school buses, a local TD has claimed.
Sinn Féin TD for Laois/Offaly Brian Stanley has said that children are again being “turned away from school transport this year due to a failure by the government to recognise demand and invest in extra capacity.”
His party is calling for an additional 10,000 places, the elimination of school transport fees and more buses in order to help meet demand nationwide.
“This week, parents across Laois/Offaly are getting notified that they have failed to secure a seat for their child on the local school bus. This is a problem in all parts of the constituency,” said Deputy Stanley.
“Every year the School Transport Scheme is significantly oversubscribed here and instead of harnessing this demand, the government sit on their hands and let the situation repeat itself, year after year. This causes huge problems for parents in Laois/Offaly who are trying to juggle their work commitments,” he explained.
“The announcement by the Government of the free scheme has predictably led to increased demand. This should have been anticipated,’’ argued Deputy Stanley.
“While the decision by Government to eliminate school transport fees for the 2022/2023 school year is welcome, it does nothing to address the capacity constraints. More needs to be done,” added Deputy Stanley.
He endorsed proposals from his party for additional 10,000 bus places, new buses and no fees. “That would make a real difference to the lives of families here in Laois/Offaly and ensure these avoidable pressures don’t occur every year,” he remarked.
“By expanding this scheme, we can cut transport emissions, reduce dangerous traffic congestion outside schools, while providing families with a convenient method of transport for their children. Expanding the School Transport Scheme is a win-win for parents and for the environment,’’ said Deputy Stanley.
He said “I am calling on the Ministers for Transport and Education to now step in and immediately increase capacity to ensure as many children as possible here in Laois/Offaly can be accommodated.”
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