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School Transport

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 29 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many taxis are being used to transport children to school in each education and library board area; and at what cost. (80102)

In 2004-05 the education and library boards used 1,393 taxis to transport pupils to and from school, at a total cost of £8,012,000, broken down in the following table.

Number of taxis

Cost (£)

Belfast board

195

633,000

North-Eastern board

259

2,095,000

South-Eastern board

298

2,216,000

Southern board

335

2,022,000

Western board

306

1,046,000

Education and library boards only transport pupils via taxi where an existing bus service is not available and it is more cost effective to provide a taxi rather than introduce a new route. In addition, pupils with a statement of special needs may have specialised transport requirements that can only be met through the provision of a taxi. Medical experts make this decision and the requirement to provide transport via taxi is detailed on the pupil’s statement of special needs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many children have (a) been injured and (b) reported attacks by other children in shared taxis in the last two years, broken down by education and library board. (80104)

Four of the five education and library boards have confirmed that there have been no children reported injured by other children while travelling to and from school in shared taxis in the last two years. The Southern education and library board has also confirmed that there have been no serious injuries to children during this period but is not able to provide details of minor incidents.