East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson has called on the transport and education ministers to conduct a feasibility study into providing free school transport.
The Alliance representative told the Assembly that while such a policy would likely incur substantial costs, it could offer significant social benefits as well as economic savings.
He emphasised that free school transport could assist parents struggling with the costs of transportation, help to change attitudes towards public transport and deliver savings as a result of reduced road congestion.
Mr Dickson added: “Providing free school transport for all would obviously incur substantial costs. Those, however, could be balanced by the potential savings; for example, reduced road congestion, which, on its own is estimated to cost our local economy some £250 million a year.”
Mr Dickson urged fellow Assembly members: “We need a comprehensive feasibility study that allows us to weigh the costs against the benefits, to take properly informed decisions about the future of school transport.”