About 20 families from the south of Wicklow who had applied for and paid for a bus ticket for their children in secondary education were told only a few days before the deadline that their children can not be accommodated.
Parents of the new first year and returning pupils submitted tickets at the beginning of the summer and many have been told that their children will not get seats because they are in the catchment area of Coláiste Eoin, Hacketstown, instead of Coláiste Bhríde, where they will live.
Aoife Kelly, whose daughter Holly started high school Monday, paid € 350 for a bus ticket and from yesterday it was still unclear whether a ticket would be awarded.
& # 39; I have been told that there is no bus for my daughter. I do not drive and even after I have paid € 350, I still have no answers. Recently I was told that we would not receive a ticket and I would receive a refund and when I registered with my account, the website of Bus Éireann said that a ticket had been issued but that there was no room. I'm under the spell of what is happening, "she said.
Fellow-parent Leighann Gavin, whose son Joseph started the first year, said that the money was taken away from all parents before it was clear if they had a seat or not.
& # 39; I paid € 135 for a ticket and was told that no seat was available. Myself and many other parents had non-stop contact with Bus Éireann and they just stopped answering our calls, "she said.
Catriona Shannon's son Paidí was awarded a concession ticket last year, meaning he was assigned a seat after all pupils who were closer to the school had already been accommodated.
This year they are not yet informed whether he will receive a ticket and must take Shannon off to carry out the school races until they know what is happening with their application.
& # 39; This year his application was automatically submitted by Bus Éireann in April, as he was an existing cardholder and I had made the payment for the ticket on 27 June, well before the end of July. I received a receipt from Bus Éireann.
& # 39; On June 20, it became clear to me that all our neighbors had received their tickets and an e-mail from Bus Éireann. I had not received an e-mail or ticket. Since 20 July I have called Bus Éireann twice and sent three separate e-mail addresses by e-mail. I have no information when my son gets his ticket. I am taking leave this week to drive myself and others to school and collect them, "Mrs Shannon said.
Yesterday an update of her Bus Éireann account indicated that no seat is available.
Ms. Shannon added that, apart from the availability of seats, the job application system is very confusing and stressful for parents, especially those who do not drive and depend on this transport for their children.
Whatever the stress of not getting a ticket, the real stress comes from a complete lack of information from Bus Éireann and a lack of transparency in the process. I spoke to people who applied after the deadline and received tickets while existing ticket holders did not receive information. It is a system that has to change. The stress and desperation is not something that families should face when they return to school, "she said.
A spokesperson for Bus Éireann said that tickets are awarded to applicants who are within 4.8 km of their local school and then those outside of this distance are taken into account for concession cards.
Children are eligible for transport where they live not less than 4.8 km from and visit their nearest training center as determined by the Department of Education & Skills / Bus Éireann, taking into account ethos and language. The suitability of the distance is determined by Bus Éireann by measuring the shortest movable route from the child's home to the nearest teaching center, "said the spokesman.
& # 39; The families live closer to the Hacketstown PP Center and are considered concessionaries for the Carnew PP Center. Concessional transport is granted on the following grounds: there is reserve capacity on the service; routes are not extended or modified, no additional vehicles are introduced and no larger vehicles or additional trips with existing vehicles are offered for children traveling on a concessionary basis; no additional state costs will be incurred; the correct annual tax is paid; Dispensation from medical card is not applicable. & # 39;
The spokesman added that the availability of concessional transport may vary from year to year, is not available for public liner services and can not be guaranteed for the duration of the school cycle of primary education for children.
"When the number of applications for concession-based transport exceeds the number of seats available, Bus Éireann determines the allocation of the tickets, the number of concessionary students offering transport exceeded the number of seats available and a random selection was made and some families were unsuccessful.
"It is not the job of Bus Éireann to provide a service to surplus concessionary students", said the spokesman.