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 2017, 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 please 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 2016/2017 and will be moving up to the next school year, their details will be automatically renewed for 2017/2018. Travel passes will be issued before the start of term, so it is important that you inform us of any change in circumstances (such as a change of school, address or financial circumstances if you qualify on this basis) 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. Please contact us by emailing or by calling us on 0300 123 5012. Passes that are no longer required should be returned to the Cheshire East Transport Service for cancellation. Please ensure that you contact us immediately if you are no longer in receipt of a benefit that entitled your child to a travel pass.

My child will attend a denominational school, will they qualify for assistance with transport?

In accordance with statutory responsibilities, free school transport arrangements will be made for secondary school age children from low income families where they are attending a denominational school that is between 2 and 15 miles of the home address, provided the family is in receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • Free School Meals
  • Income Support
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance (but not Contribution Based)
  • Income Based Employment Support Allowance (but not Contribution Based)
  • Child Tax Credit (annual income must not exceed £16,190)
  • Maximum Level of Working Families Tax Credits
  • Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit

My family receives a state benefit, does this mean my child is entitled to school transport?

If your family qualifies for one of the benefits listed above, it may be possible to receive help with school transport. The child must be attending one of the three nearest secondary schools that is between 2 and 6 miles of their home address (or 2 and 15 miles for denominational schools). This assistance is for secondary age school pupils only.

When will I receive the travel pass?

For 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, the Cheshire East Transport Service 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, please 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. Please 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 can 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. Please 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 or by calling us on 0300 123 5012. Please 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 their 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, Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe, CW1 2BJ. 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.

Will my child need a photocard?

Pupils who travel to and from school by rail, must also carry a valid photocard. If your child is allocated to a rail service, we will contact you to request a passport sized photograph. If your child already has a photocard, please retain it for use as photocards are not renewed each year. If you lose your photocard, there is a charge to replace it of £15. You may also need to supply a new photograph. Please refer to the information above for payment options.

Can I claim a refund of fares if the pass arrives late?

The Council will, wherever possible, aim to process travel applications within 14 days, however, this may take longer at peak times. No reimbursement of travel expenses (or refund of fares) will be paid by the Council for any costs incurred whilst waiting for a travel pass or for travel arrangements to be made.

Can I apply for a spare seat on the bus if my child is not eligible?

There is no obligation for the Council to arrange travel for pupils who are not entitled under the Home to School Transport 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 on routes with spare capacity (after eligible pupils have been allocated) and where there are no other public transport services on which your child could pay a daily / termly fare.

If your application for transport has been refused and you wish to be considered for a spare seat, please email your details to us at: or call us on 0300 123 5012. We will then add your child to the waiting list and if there are spare seats available on the route, we will write to you to request payment.

Spare 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 2017/18, the spare seat charge is £920. Charges are per pupil per year and payment can be made either termly or half-termly. Reminder letters will be sent to you when each payment is due and payment can be made online at School Transport Online Payments or by calling 0300 123 5012. 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 please view the Public Transport Homepage or telephone the Traveline on 0871 200 2233.

How is poor behaviour managed on school buses?

Cheshire East Transport works 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. Smoking is illegal in public places and this includes all school bus, local bus and rail services.  Any pupils found to be smoking will receive an immediate transport ban.

Is my child entitled to special needs transport?

For further information please contact the Assessment and Monitoring Team by calling 01625 378042.

My child has been refused a bus pass, can I appeal?

Transport Service Solutions can only consider transport applications that meet the criteria of the School Transport Policy. Where there are exceptional family circumstances, it may be possible to appeal against the refusal of transport. For full details, please see our Appeals Procedure (MS Word, 69KB), or you can discuss your circumstances with a member of the eligibility team, call us on 0300 123 5012.

Who can I contact if there are problems with the school bus service, or if I have a complaint?

Transport Service Solutions is committed to providing a high level 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 emailing or by calling us on 0300 123 5012. We will then investigate the problem and take appropriate 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:

School Transport
Transport Service Solutions
Municipal Buildings
Earle Street

Any complaints will be investigated and a response will be sent to you within 10 working days.

Contact us

0300 123 5020

Monday to Friday 8:30 to 17:00

Postal Address only:

Transport Service Solutions
Cledford Lane
CW10 0JN

For Bus and Train times call Traveline 0871 200 22 33 calls cost 12p per minute plus your phone company's access charge.

The English Traveline call centre opening hours are 7am to 10pm most days. You can find full details on Traveline's website.

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