Bus Éireann Safety Statement
The School Transport Scheme
Bus Éireann operates the School Transport Scheme on behalf of the Department of Education. Each year, over 40 million passenger journeys are carried out under the School Transport Scheme.
This Scheme provides transport for children who reside remote from their nearest school. This includes transport to and from primary and post-primary schools and transport for children with special educational needs.
It is understood that there are numerous other school bus providers who operate in a private capacity outside of the remit of the School Transport Scheme administered by Bus Éireann.
In order to be considered roadworthy:
- Each taxi must provide Bus Éireann with proof of passing the National Car Test (NCT).
- Each bus must pass an annual Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Test (CVRT) conducted under the auspices of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) at approved test centres nationwide.
When a contract is signed, each Bus Éireann school transport contract provider is contractually obliged to ensure that their vehicle has an up-to-date Roadworthiness Certificate issued by an RSA accredited test centre. The contractor is obliged to keep their Roadworthiness Certificate current and valid at all times and provide Bus Éireann with evidence of this.
All Bus Éireann school transport bus services that operate under the School Transport Scheme, that are subject to roadside inspections, must have a current Roadworthiness Certificate at the time of inspection.
Agreements with Contracted Providers
A detailed contract is put in place for all contracted services which provides for numerous safety-related obligations. There is a strict process to be fulfilled prior to any vehicle and/or driver being added to the approved list for the provision of services under the School Transport Scheme. Relevant documentation is verified, and copies are held by Bus Éireann School Transport offices.
This documentation includes:
- Vehicle Insurance
- Insurance Indemnity
- Road Passenger Transport Operator Licence (with required vehicles added)
- Certificate of Roadworthiness (CRW)
- Appropriate Public Service Vehicle licence (large/small) (PSV)
- Certificate of Tax Clearance.
The Bus Éireann School Transport contract also stipulates that relevant contractors must complete a safety inspection of each school bus at a maximum of six weekly intervals.
All contractors are required to have in place and to comply with planned maintenance procedures for their vehicles.
School Transport Contractors are also responsible as individual operators, licensed by the Department of Transport, to comply with legislation in all respects.
Additional Vehicle Checks
In addition to statutory requirements, Bus Éireann provides for an independent agency to carry out additional examinations of vehicles operating under the Scheme to enhance safety. These additional examinations can be both targeted and random and ensures vehicles are assessed in the intervening period between annual roadworthiness tests.
Any vehicles that fail these examinations are stood down until any defects are rectified by the contractor. If the contractor has not rectified these defects within the specified timeframe, they face penalties up to and including the termination of their contract.
School Bus Drivers/Contractors
School bus drivers/contractors are a vital part of the safe delivery of services under the School Transport Scheme.
School bus drivers must:
- Hold a valid Driving Licence for the relevant vehicle category they are intended to operate.
- Be assessed in accordance with Bus Éireann Medical Certificate of Fitness Form A or B and deemed medically fit by a Medical Practitioner whose name is on the Irish Medical Council Register.
- Prior to being deployed, be vetted and approved by Bus Éireann for each School Transport Office Location and contractor they are intended to operate under. Vetting Approval is valid for a maximum of three years. However, it is important to note that Bus Éireann reserves the right to re-vet any applicant at our discretion. It is the responsibility of each applicant to ensure that their vetting status remains current with Bus Éireann.
- Comply with the Code of Conduct for Bus Éireann School Transport Drivers, including Contractors, their Nominated Drivers and School Transport Service Supervisors.
- Comply with Bus Éireann’s Child Safeguarding Policy Booklet – November 2021.
School Transport Service Supervisors
Our team of dedicated School Transport Supervisors support the safe and effective delivery of school transport services nationwide.
They respond to incidents and emergencies within their designated areas when required. As part of their role, they carry out unannounced inspections of school transport services to ensure children hold valid tickets, driver checks, a visual check on key vehicle safety items and assess the safety of vehicle routes and pick up points.
Immediate action is taken following detection of non-compliance and follow-up service checks are subsequently carried out to ensure corrective action has been completed.
Students and their Parents/Guardians/Carers
Bus Éireann recognises the important role that parents/guardian/carers play in a child’s education and in the safe transport of the child to and from school.
A Safety Notice for School Bus Pupils is circulated with the child’s school transport ticket.
Our website offers advice on student safety when using transport:
Bus Éireann promotes an environment where children are welcomed, respected, cared for and protected from harm. Bus Éireann staff, contractors and their employees understand that they have a duty and responsibility to safeguard children and comply with our organisational procedures and policies. Our website guidance focuses on encouraging good student behaviour, careful boarding/alighting, seat belt wearing, stowing of school bags, etc.
Our Child Protection Policy Booklet November 2021 is consistent with the principles set out in “Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children” and is in line with best practice in this area.
Bus Éireann continuously works with the RSA, the Department of Education, and other organisations to maintain and improve the safety standards across our school transport fleet and comply with industry best practices.