AN unprecedented number of applications for school buses places has led to a delay in the allocation of tickets ahead of the return to the classroom.
Bus Éireann told the Donegal News yesterday that the sourcing of extra buses and drivers to cope with the increased demand for the government transport scheme has led to the delays.
In July the waiving of the school transport scheme fees for the coming school year was announced as part of a wider package of cost of living measures by the government.
“Bus Éireann will continue to process applications and to issue tickets as soon as extra buses and drivers are sourced and become available to provide transport for the higher numbers qualifying for the service,” said the Bus Éireann spokesperson.
“Regrettably the unprecedented numbers of new applications for the upcoming school year, has led to some delays in issuing tickets.
“The normal eligibility criteria of the scheme still apply. Tickets continue to be allocated to families as we work through these remaining applications and families will be contacted as further information is available.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by these delays and thank our customers for their patience as we continue to work through remaining applications.”
Since the closure of registrations on July 29 almost 130,000 applications were received for mainstream school transport nationwide.
This figure includes 44, 299 new applications as well as roll-overs from the previous school year. Over 106,000 tickets for the 2022/2023 school year have been issued to applicants.
The online account management system, known as the Family Portal, which has been closed since registrations shut on 29 July, reopens on Thursday 25 August. Where applications have been processed, the reopening of the portal will enable account holders to check the status of their application.
Bus Éireann has advised families that have already submitted a valid application prior to 29 July and have not yet received an update, to not amend or alter their existing application as creating new or duplicate applications risks losing the existing application place in the system.
“While the re-opening of the portal also facilitates a late application process, it is very important for such families to note that the application deadline for 2022/23 was 29 April 2022, and that the deadline to confirm registration for tickets was 29 July 2022,” said a Bus Éireann spokesperson.
“Any application completed after this date is a ‘late application’ and therefore, many school transport services are already operating at full capacity. Late applications will only be assessed after all “on time” applications have been processed and there can be no guarantee of places for late applicants.”