Changes to school transport services for children in Rugby

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THE county council will be making changes to a number of its school transport services from September 2011.

Currently some services allow students who are not entitled to free transport to pay a daily fare or to purchase a pass directly from the bus operator. In most cases from September this will no longer apply.

These services will now be regarded as ‘closed door’ which means that only students showing passes issued by the council will be able to travel. This group includes pupils entitled to free transport or non-entitled students who have purchased a pass from the council under its Vacant Seats Policy (this was first introduced in 2006).

This measure has been introduced to make savings, but also as part of the changes to the way the council provides support with transport for students aged 16-19, and to give the council greater control over the numbers of students using council funded transport.

Some of the current school transport services are extremely busy and prone to potential overloading if numbers are not regulated. By providing the passes, the council will be able to offer places to as many students as possible, whilst continuing to ensure that vehicles are not loaded beyond capacity and the safety of students is not compromised.

County Councillor Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Families said: “The changes to school transport we are making are necessary for several reasons. We have to reduce spending on the current home to school transport budget whilst ensuring that the council gets value for money and most importantly that students are transported safely.

“The extension of the Vacant Seat Policy which has existed for many years, to cover most of our school transport services from September 2011, will assist us to achieve these aims.”

Where a student has a legal entitlement to free transport this will continue to be provided.

For details on how to apply for a bus pass under the Vacant Seats Policy, call 01926 742059, e-mail educationtransport@warwickshire.gov.uk or go to www.warwickshire.gov.uk/vacantseatscheme.