Author Topic: HCC school bus policy changes  (Read 484 times)

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HCC school bus policy changes
« on: March 25, 2011, 08:59:05 PM »

£6m savings hit free school buses
Alice Hutton

Free school buses for all children will be cut after council bosses approved £6m savings to the county’s school transport bill.

Children will now be offered transport to the nearest school, instead of the nearest Hertfordshire school, even if it means crossing county borders, after Hertfordshire County Council’s cabinet meeting on Monday.

Transport for children without statutory rights and concessions for those attending faith schools will be discontinued by September 2012.

The annual SaverCard concessionary scheme currently available to pupils will also be increased by 50 per cent to £20 a year for new pupils.

However, parents whose children did not qualify for transport will be offered the chance to ‘buy a seat’ on the bus.

The decision followed a three month consultation with councillors saying they were driven by the need to reduce the annual £25m school transport bill.

Richard Thake, executive member for education and skills, said they would continue to consider “exceptional circumstances in individual cases”.

Mr Thake added: “We have to significantly reduce the annual cost of home to school transport and these proposals are estimated to achieve savings of between £5 and £6 million.

“We have listened to the legitimate concerns of people who responded to the consultation, assessed the impact of our decisions, and will continue to consider exceptional circumstances in individual cases.

“There are a number of children currently attending a Hertfordshire school for whom the nearest qualifying school would be outside the county boundary under the new transport policy.

“I want to stress that there is no proposal to change the transport arrangements for these individual children. This part of the new policy will be introduced for new applicants only with effect from September 1, 2012.

“There have already been significant achievements resulting from the school transport review.

“Seventy per cent of students who previously had transport to Education Support Centres now travel independently to their place of learning, typically using a bus or rail card.

“This encourages them to become self-reliant travellers – a key life skill.”

Stuart Pile, executive member for Highways and Transport, added: “We really appreciate the opportunity to continue working in partnership with schools, parents and community groups looking at ways of them organising or running their own transport arrangements.”

A second consultation is being planned for the summer term this year to look at what the future school bus network will look like from September 2012.

For a guide to statutory eligibility for school transport visit