Children in Waterford will be ‘left high and dry’ unless Government acts on school transport – McGuinness

Sinn Féin Councillor Conor D. McGuinness has said that scores of children from across Waterford will again be turned away from school transport this year due to a failure by the government to recognise demand and invest in extra capacity.

Sinn Féin has called 10,000 extra places to be funded and made available to help meet demand.

McGuinness said

“This week parents and families in Waterford are getting notified that they have failed to secure a seat for their child on the local school bus. They are being left high and dry by Government inaction. 

“Every year the School Transport Scheme is significantly over-subscribed 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 who are trying to juggle their work commitments.

“In addition, we are turning thousands of children away from this public transport option, which is totally at odds with our climate ambitions, as it results in thousands of extra private car journeys to and from school each day.

“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. 

“Sinn Féin have called for 10,000 extra seats to be added to the system, in addition to investing in new school buses and eliminating school transport fees. This would means hundreds of additional seats for Waterford to ensure that all children can access education. 

“By expanding this scheme, we can cut transport emissions, reduce dangerous traffic congestion outside schools, while providing parents and guardians with a convenient method of transport for their children.

“Expanding the School Transport Scheme is a win-win for parents and for the environment.“The Ministers for Transport and Education should now step in and immediately increase capacity to ensure as many children as possible can be accommodated.” 

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