Bus Éireann has issued over 3,749 tickets for school transport in Cavan for the current school year 2022-23, representing an increase of 11%.
The figure emerges amid unprecedented demand for the school transport scheme, after the Government announced the waiving of fees in early July as part of a package to reduce back-to-school costs.
However, they failed to amend other criteria for the scheme, meaning that a situation developed whereby students living in towns closer to school, but who in the past traveled by alternative means, are being given priority for seat placement ahead of others.
Amongst the villages where the problem has been felt severely is Kilnaleck. Parents there are hosting a public meeting this evening (Wednesday) in the Realtóg Center to address bus seat shortages for their community and surrounds.
To date, Bus Éireann school transport offices across Ireland have issued 124,000 tickets for mainstream school transport for the 2022/23 school year, an increase of over 15% on the previous school year.
This includes 3,845 tickets for school transport in Monaghan, an increase of 15% on the previous year; and 2,370 tickets in Longford, up 18%.
A spokesperson for Bus Éireann said in response to the increased demand, the company has managed to secure over 290 additional school transport vehicles nationally, while 116 services have had larger capacity vehicles added, or the routes extended.
Additional call center staff were also recruited to deal with the large volume of calls being received from frustrated and irate families of children left without a seat.
“Bus Éireann is continuing to procure additional capacity for school transport services to cater for remaining pupils who meet the qualifying eligibility criteria of the scheme.”
Parents demand more seats on school buses