Frequently asked questions for primary and secondary school pupils
How do I apply for school transport?
If you wish to apply for school transport for a child who will be starting primary school (reception), or high school (year 7) in September 2018, you should apply as early as possible. This can be done by completing an online school transport application form or by calling the school transport team on 0300 123 5012.
Applications for pupils in years 1-6 and 8-11 can be made at anytime, but note the information below if you are simply looking to renew your child’s transport.
How do I renew transport for my child?
If your child is eligible for assisted transport, received a travel pass in 2017/2018 and will continue to be eligible when moving up to the next school year, their details will automatically be renewed. If there have been any changes to the Education Travel Policy that affect the continuation of your child’s entitlement to travel assistance, you will be notified in writing at the earliest opportunity.
It is important that you inform us of any change in circumstances (such as a change of school or address as this may affect your child’s entitlement.
What happens if we change our address or move to a different school?
A change of address or school must be reported so that we can reassess your details and update our records. Contact us by email email@example.com or by phone 0300 123 5012.
How much will I get with a Direct Payment or Personal Travel Budget?
Direct Payments or Personal Travel Budgets for home to school travel will only be offered to eligible pupils, where they are the most cost-effective solution for the local authority.
The value of a Direct Payment is assessed on a direct mileage basis assuming up to two home to school return journeys each day for a maximum of 190 days per academic year. The applicable mileage rate is reviewed annually and published on the local authority’s website.
The value of a Personal Travel Budget can be set at a higher level to allow for the fact that more specialised vehicles or personal assistance is likely to be required. It comprises a mileage rate plus, in exceptional circumstances, a discretionary allowance to be individually and mutually agreed according to need. The applicable mileage rate is reviewed annually and published on the Local Authority’s website:
For the Academic Year 2018/19 the mileage rate payable for both Direct Payments and Personal budgets is 25p per mile.
This rate will apply for all new travel arrangements beginning from September 2018.
The rate takes into account HMRC guidance to avoid personal tax liability.
When will I receive the travel pass?
For completed applications received and processed in good time, a travel pass for September will be sent to your home address during August. If your application was made after the start of term or part way through the academic year and your child is eligible, we will aim to issue a pass within 14 days. Applications made during peak times may be delayed and parents/carers are ultimately responsible for making any interim travel arrangements.
When you receive the travel pass, ensure that you keep it in a safe place as a charge will be made to replace lost passes. If you pay towards the cost of your child’s transport, passes will not be dispatched until the payment due has been received.
Do pupils need to carry their travel pass every day?
It is important that all pupils carry their pass and be ready to show it to the driver each time the vehicle is boarded. Passes should be kept safe and in good condition. To ensure that only those pupils who are eligible to travel do so, bus operators are instructed to enforce a ‘no pass, no travel’ policy.
When and for what journeys can the travel pass be used?
Unless otherwise stated, passes are valid for a return journey to/from school, Monday to Friday only. Refer to the information on the reverse side of the travel pass for more conditions of use. The misuse and/or fraudulent use of a travel pass is treated seriously and could result in transport being withdrawn. Any of the following may lead to confiscation:
- Use by anyone other than the named pass holder
- Attempted use for unauthorised journeys
- Using a damaged or defaced travel pass
Confiscated passes must be replaced immediately, for which there is a charge of £15. Refer to the information below for payment options.
What happens if the travel pass is lost or damaged?
Lost or damaged travel passes must be replaced as soon as possible, for which there is a charge of £15.
Payment can be made with a debit or credit card online at School Transport Online Payments. You must have the student reference number ready as this will be asked for. Once a ticket has been replaced the original becomes invalid and cannot be used for travel. Pupils travelling on commercial bus or rail services will be expected to pay a fare until a replacement pass is received and no refunds will be paid for any expenses incurred.
What if the pass is no longer required?
Any passes that are no longer required should be returned with a covering letter to: Transport Service Solutions, Cledford Lane, Middlewich, CW10 0JN. The pass can then be cancelled so that we only pay for the journeys that have been made - this helps to keep costs down.
If you have purchased a pass that is no longer required, it must be received back in this office for cancellation before the start of term, otherwise no refund will be paid. Passes that have been used for half a term and are not required for the second half of term, again must be received before or during the half term break. Once term resumes, we are unable to refund any payments made, irrespective of the number of days a student may or may not have travelled. We would advise you to return unwanted passes by recorded delivery as we are not able to refund any payments unless we receive the pass.
Can I claim a refund of fares if the pass arrives late?
Wherever possible, we aim to process travel applications within 14 days, however, this may take longer at peak times. No reimbursement of travel expenses or fares will be paid for any travel costs incurred whilst waiting for a travel pass.
Can I apply for a spare seat on the bus if my child is not eligible?
There is no obligation to arrange travel for pupils who are not entitled under Education Travel Policy. However, consideration can be given to the sale of surplus capacity seats on school transport routes in order to offer a service to families who may wish to make use of this scheme. Spare seats can only be offered after eligible pupils have been allocated a seat and where there are no other public transport services on which your child could pay a fare.
If your application for transport has been refused and you wish to be considered for a spare seat, email your details to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 123 5012. We will then add your child to the waiting list and if there are paid for seats available on the route, we will write to you to request payment.
Paid for seats are prioritised into 3 categories:
- Category 1 is reserved for pupils allocated a spare seat in the previous academic year (this category is given first priority)
- Category 2 is for Cheshire East resident pupils who are applying for a spare seat for the first time
- Category 3 is for non-Cheshire East resident pupils (this category is given a lower priority)
For 2018/19, the spare seat charge is £460. Charges are per pupil per year and payment can be made annually, termly or half-termly. Reminder letters will be sent to you when each payment is due, which can be made online at School Transport Online Payments. Please note that pupils will not be permitted to travel unless they are in possession of a valid bus pass.
How can I find out about commercial bus services on which my child can pay a fare?
For further information you can visit the Public Transport Homepage or phone Traveline on 0871 200 22 33 (calls cost 12p per minute plus your phone company's access charge).
How poor behaviour is managed on school buses
We work closely with schools and operators to encourage a good standard of behaviour and respect on school transport. Any bad behaviour or rule-breaking on the journey to and from school will be treated seriously and could result in your child being temporarily or permanently banned from travelling. Please see the Educational travel behaviour code (PDF, 522KB) for further information.
My child has been refused a bus pass, can I appeal?
The School Transport team can only consider applications that meet the criteria of the Education Travel Policy. Where there are exceptional family circumstances, it may be possible to appeal against the refusal of transport. Full details can be found in the Appeals and Complaints Policy, or you can discuss your circumstances with a member of the team on 0300 123 5012.
Who can I contact if there are problems with the school bus service, or if I have a complaint?
We are committed to providing a high standard of service, however, there may be times when your child is experiencing problems with the bus or rail service on which they travel. In the event of a problem arising or if you have any concerns, you can report them to us by email email@example.com or by phone on 0300 123 5012. We will then investigate the problem and take the appropriate course of action.
If you have a complaint or are dissatisfied in the way you have been treated by a member of staff, please write directly to:
Transport Service Solutions
Any complaints will be investigated in accordance with the Council’s Corporate Complaints Procedure.