Naas students left behind by buses as schools reopened

Call for enough buses to meet demand

Paul O'Meara

Reporter:

Paul O'Meara

Email:

paul@leinsterleader.ie

Naas students left behind by buses as schools reopened

File photo

A number of students attending school in Naas were left behind by buses either in the morning as they left for school or later as they tried to get home last week.

Secondary school students using the school bus system normally encounter a few teething problems as bus operators start the new school year.

However Fianna Fail TD James Lawless says he has received a raft of complaints since the school reopened about two weeks ago.

One morning a bus arrived to take children from Sallins but it wasn’t large enough to accommodate the numbers waiting to be collected.

Most of the children affected were making their way from or to Naas Community College, St. Mary’s College or Naas CBS.

They come from areas outside Naas like Sallins, Kill, Johnstown, Sallins and Caragh.

“There was pandemonium for the first couple of days and while many of the problems have been ironed out, a small few still remain,” said Dep. Lawless.

One of the problems materialised when a 54 seater bus arrived for an 86 strong group of students.

Apart from capacity, parents also complained that bus tickets had not arrived for their student children even though they had been paid for.

“They paid for the tickets but they hadn’t arrived in the post. For one reason or another children were being left behind in both directions and this shouldn’t happen,” said Dep. Lawless.

He contacted Bus Eireann and extra buses were put on.

He also said one of the frustrating experiences that parents faced was not being able to get through to Bus Eireann for an explanation or advice.

“Parents were being left on the phone.

So I think there is a need for Bus Eireann to improve their communications and perhaps set up a help desk.

Apart from the fact that there were not adequate places, the actual tickets should have been posted earlier than they were ,” said Dep. Lawless.

He said he now intends raising this with the Oireachtas committee education and skills.

While he accepted that the system generally works well he described recent problems as a “coordination issue”. At the height of the problems Dep Lawless said he had some 30 cases and these had no been reduced to five or six and these included a woman who has been late for work as a consequence.