There aren't enough seats available on school buses to meet demand for the upcoming academic year.
An increase in applications for school bus places combined with a shortage of drivers has parents questioning how they'll get their children back to school.
Some parents of students returning next week have been told their children won't get a place on the school bus, or that they've lost the place they had.
Fianna Fáil Senator Malcom Byrne told Newstalk that the pressure is real and, while the Student Transport Scheme is currently being reviewed, "unfortunately this is a problem that emerges every year".
"A lot of families who would've been in receipt of the concessionary bus tickets, they're not getting them this year."
Free school transport
Along with other measures to tackle the cost of living, the government has made school transport free for those who can get it.
As a result, more families have joined the scheme.
"There are over 100,000 students nationally who do avail of the school transport scheme and this year problems have manifested themselves", Senator Byrne explained.
"We're seeing a demographic bulge."
"There's a very big number of students who are going to second level at the moment. That's obviously putting pressure on our second level system, but also on the school transport system."
Senator Byrne said that we need to entice more people to become bus drivers.
"If you look at the age profile of a lot of bus drivers, they are older. We need to get more younger people in there."
"There is a really good career path, not just in driving school buses but indeed with private coach hire, with Dublin Bus, with Bus Éireann as well."
Bus Éireann is currently working to fill every seat available, which Senator Byrne says is why some families have only just been informed of whether they will get a place or not.
"We've got to get to a situation whereby anybody who wants to use school bus transport as a way to get to school, they can use it", he said,
In May 2022, the government introduced a 20% reduction in all public transport fees.
While the 90-minute flat fare, introduced last year, is now only 65c for children up to 18 years of age.
Main image shows a yellow school bus.