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School Transport Panel meeting discusses options for small to medium bus and coach operators when contract put out to tender.
Invitations have been sent to over 1,200 small to medium bus and coach operators across the country to participate in the FOTO/iBus panel discussions on the School Transport Scheme contract. The last 7 years has seen a major change in the terms, conditions, pricing and, what some believe, a less than transparent selection process by the contractor, the State company, Bus Eireann. Many operators have left the School Transport Scheme altogether expressing concerns that the present returns do not allow for adequate reinvestment that is required to maintain the overall standards and safety within the system that have been achieved and delivered by the private operators since its inception.
Following the ruling by the EU Commission that the School Transport Scheme, as it is presently managed and operated by the Department of Education & Science and the State company, Bus Eireann, is against EU rules. The Irish Government must now look to putting this contract out to tender. FOTO through iBus plc, the business arm of FOTO, intends mounting a bid on behalf of small to medium bus and coach operator shareholders. A nationwide survey of the private operators, who operate 70% of the routes, will be undertaken over the next 6 to 9 months in the preparation of this bid. In the meantime FOTO will continue to “remind” the Government of this ruling and of its obligations arising from it. You can view recent correspondence in the Gallery section.