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Bus Éireann faces criticism over new online payment system

Concerns are mounting about rural users facing difficulties with the service.

Image: photocall ireland

BUS ÉIREANN HAS come under fire for not providing an adequate system of payment for school buses to those without internet access.

Fianna Fail’s spokesperson on Education and Skills Charlie McConalogue has criticised the new online focused system for marginalising those without internet access.

While a postal system of payment is still available to those without internet access, it is not clearly advertised on the company’s website.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie,  the Donegal TD said: “Bus Éireann need to make it clear to people that it is still possible to pay by post. That is not clear on their website, nor has that option been offered by people calling Bus Éireann.

It is not acceptable in my view to leave people in a situation where it is very stressful to meet the requirements to pay online.

The deadline for online payment with the system had originally been set for the 25th of July. Bus Éireann have now extended that deadline to the First of August due to technical difficulties.

Responding to the criticism, spokesperson for Bus Éireann Nicola Cooke said: “Families can post cheques, postal order or money orders to their local school transport office,  the details of which are available on the website, quoting their Family ID number.”

This year families received a letter advising them that there is an improved online service and they were asked to register and follow the instructions on the website if they wish to pay online and identify their home address on the online map.

The school transport system will begin to operate on 26th of August. At current, over 32,000 families have registered to use the service, with over 30,000 of these having paid or submitted medical card details. Bus Éireann do not anticipate any issue with the service when it begins back next month.

More than 70,000 families used the system last year. Out of the 70,000 around 70% paid to use the service online. Bus Éireann anticipated this figure to grow this year.

The transport system cost €170 million and carried more than 116,000 children to school last year.

READ: Industrial action threatened as Irish Rail plans to go ahead with pay cuts

READ: Bus Éireann finds “no evidence” to support bribery allegations… but can’t say it never happened

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