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
Number of taxis
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.
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.