School Transport



The school transport scheme was established in 1967. It currently carries about 140,000 pupils each school day, 55,000 of whom are in the post-primary sector, 76,000 are primary pupils and about 9,000 are pupils with special needs.

The cost of the scheme is approximately €111 million of which the cost breakdown is approx, 70% mainstream, 30% Special needs. Contributions account for approx 5% of the overall cost.

The scheme is administered by Bus Éireann as agent for the Department of Education. Bus Éireann may operate a service itself or may contract it to a private operator. In its direct operations under the scheme, Bus Éireann uses over 600 of its own vehicles, and private contractors use 2,300 vehicles i.e. over 2900 vehicles in total. The total number of bus routes operated is approx 5,000.

County Galway V.E.C. liaises between Parents, Schools, Bus Éireann and the Department of Education and Science's School Transport Section in order to provide a School Bus service for all eligible candidates.


1. Eligibility

1.1 To be eligible for transport under this scheme, a pupil must:

  1. be enrolled for an approved course in a recognised post-primary school.
  2. be not less than 12 years of age on the first day of January of the school-year in which the pupil enters second level education.
  3. as a rule, have completed a full course of primary education.
  4. live 4.8 kilometres (3 miles), or more, from his/her appropriate post-primary education centre.

1.2 Eligible pupils may be transported to the post-primary centre which caters for the catchment area in which they live. (Pupils availing of such facilities are referred to as "Fully Eligible Pupils").

1.3 School transport services are organised as a network of main routes serving each catchment area. Pupils living off a main route are expected to get, or be brought, to a convenient pick-up on the main route. Spurs off the main route will not be operated for such pupils.  As a rule, the routes will be planned so that no pupil will have more than 3.2 kilometres (2 miles) to a pick-up point.


2. Concessionary Transport

2.1 Where an eligible pupil attends a school at a centre other than the post-primary centre which caters for the catchment area in which s/he lives, s/he may be allowed the concession of transport from the catchment boundary of the centre attended, provided there is a spare seat on a bus serving that centre.

2.2 The pupil themselves, are responsible for getting to the catchment boundary or to the nearest school bus service within that catchment area. (Pupils availing of such facilities are referred to as "Catchment Boundary Pupils").

2.3 A pupil who is approved for catchment boundary transport is not guaranteed school transport for the duration of his/her education at that centre. As this is a concessionary measure, continued transport will depend on the availability of spare seats on the bus to that centre each school term. Priority will be given to eligible pupils enrolled in or proposing to enrol in a school located in the catchment area in which they live. If you are unsure about the catchment area in which you live or the various categories of school transport, please check with your chosen school or the Transport Liaison Officer at the offices of the Vocational Education Committee serving your area.


3. Contribution

Eligible pupils may avail of school transport under the scheme on payment of the appropriate term contribution.Where parents or legal guardians of eligible pupils are holders of family medical cards (not the child's own medical card), the contribution may be waived in respect of such children.


4. Grants

4.1 A grant may be paid towards the cost of private transport arrangements where a pupil is eligible for transport and none is available, or where a pupil is unable to avail of school transport, due to illness/disability.

4.2 For fully eligible pupils residing more than 3.2 kilometres (2 miles) from a pick-up point or outside the range of a school transport service, a Remote Area Grant, based on distance and attendance may be paid. Only one grant is payable per family.

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5. Education through Irish

5.1 Pupils who wish to obtain post-primary education entirely through Irish are eligible for transport to the nearest centre in which there is a secondary, vocational, comprehensive or community school providing such education, if they live 4.8 kilometres (3 miles) or more from the centre.


6. General

6.1 No special school bus service may be established unless there is a minimum of seven eligible pupils within an area which can be reasonably and economically served by the bus route.

6.2 The combined maximum daily travelling and waiting times is ideally 2½ hours, but may in exceptional circumstances, exceed this threshold.

The granting of facilities under this scheme will be at the discretion of the Minister for Education and Science.

The fact that transport facilities have been availed of by pupils contrary to the terms of the scheme in no way confers on the recipients a right to continue to avail of the facilities.


7. Further Information

7.1 Further information on school transport services may be obtained by visiting the

Department of Education & Science web site at:


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