AS applications open for the new school transport year, Limerick Labour Party Councillor Elena Secas has called for the introduction of unrestricted and universal access to school transport.
Stating that it is not good enough for parents to be kept in the dark about the type of school transport scheme that will operate from year to year, Cllr Secas said the service should be available for all who need it.
“Every year this issue arises and every year the Government fails miserably to address it. The school transport system is letting students down in rural areas and the system seems designed to stop people accessing a bus rather than facilitating as many people as possible to access a bus service.
“Each year without fail, I have constituents in the rural part of my electoral area contacting me unable to get a place on school transport for their child for some spurious reason.
“We want school transport for all. We want to put an end to this idea that there’s a lottery for tickets and for places on school buses. If society was working properly, there would be access to school transport for everybody who needs it.
“The qualifying criteria are too stringent in that the distance away from the school needs to be expanded to encompass more children. That’s what we’re calling for. A universal school transport service would be the best way to get people out of cars in school buses, get kids to school, and I think that’s what people want.
“I have been liaising with my Labour Party colleague Seán Sherlock on the review process that was the subject of public consultation. Over 10,000 people took part in the survey and their views must be taken on board.
“The system needs to be radically changed and we believe it should be changed with capacity ramped up to allow for universal access,” Cllr Secas added.