Dáil Éireann - Volume 415 - 19 February, 1992

Written Answers. - CIE Bus Fleet.

60. Mr. Cotter asked the Minister for Education if his attention has been drawn to the fact that (a) many school buses are in poor condition, (b) replacing springs with very heavy units is creating serious discomfort for both drivers and passengers and (c) hard plastic in some buses constitutes a danger to passengers in the event of an accident; if he will request CIE to carry out an investigation to establish if it might be profitable in the long term to replace the fleet considering the cost of repairs and maintenance to the existing buses; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Education (Mr. S. Brennan): Bus Éireann are the agent for the Government in providing the school transport service. As such they are responsible for maintaining the school buses and ensuring that they conform to the standards laid down by the Department of the Environment and the public service vehicle inspectors. My Department are assured by Bus Éireann that the vehicles are maintained to the highest safety standards.

The question of whether it would be more profitable to replace the fleet rather than to maintain and repair existing buses is one for Bus Éireann and in which my Department would have no competence. I understand that, over the past number of years Bus Éireann have and still are carrying out a school bus vehicle replacement programme by introducing ex-service buses from their mainline operation and also suitable second hand buses imported from England and Northern Ireland.