School transport and home to school travel

As schools are preparing to reopen for some students, we are making students’ journeys to and from school as safe as possible and want to reassure you that we, and the operators we work with, have put in place the measures recommended by the Government to protect all those choosing to travel on school transport if they cannot walk, cycle or be driven to school by car.

We have prepared some Guidance for Parents (PDF, 239KB) which sets out what you can expect from us, and what we expect from students and parents/carers in return. Please also see the Protocol for transport arrangements June 2020 (PF, 406KB) and the Operators generic guidance to risk assessments (PDF, 337KB) for details of all the safety measures being taken to provide safe transport.

Please contact TSS by email at schooltransport@transportservicesolutions.co.uk if your child no longer requires home to school transport.

A message from Transport Service Solutions

Given the current circumstances with the Coronavirus pandemic, Transport Service Solutions will be working differently and response times may be delayed. We will endeavour to deal with any enquiries as quickly as possible and would ask that you contact us using the relevant email address below, rather than calling us on the phone.

Do you have a question about Home to School/College transport?

This section will provide information on the eligibility criteria applicable to free home to school travel assistance and other travel options.

Parents have a responsibility to make sure that pupils attend school and that they get to and from school safely.

Behaviour code

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.

Who can apply for school travel

We provide free school transport for pupils of compulsory school age attending a qualifying school who are eligible because of:

Distance

The statutory walking distance of the nearest suitable school is:

  • beyond 2 miles for children below the age of 8
  • beyond 3 miles for children aged 8 – 16

Available Walking Route

The child cannot reasonably be expected to walk the route to school because the nature of the route is unsafe to walk.

Financial Hardship

Children from low-income groups or families are defined in legislation as those entitled to free school meals, or whose families receive the maximum level of Working Tax Credit.  

SEND  Criterion

The child cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school because of their mobility problems or because of associated health and safety concerns related to their  SEN  or disability .

Parents are responsible for travel arrangements or expenses if their child attends another school of their parent's preference.

Post 16 transport policy statement

The Post 16 Transport Policy statement sets out the eligibility criteria for travel assistance for students with special education needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and has information about concessionary fares, passes and travel cards, or bursaries and support for vulnerable students.

Assistance with transport for a sixth form or college student 

We don't have to provide free travel support when a young person starts post-16 education. Any travel support we do provide is discretionary and not normally provided for mainstream students. We remain committed to supporting young people with SEND who demonstrate exceptional circumstances in their journey to post 16 learning.

We will accept applications where the student meets the eligibility criteria specified in the Post 16 Travel policy and is enrolled onto a full time course or programme of study. This means the course is scheduled to provide at least 540 directed learning hours over 30 or more weeks.

Parents are expected to make a financial contribution of £450 per pupil per academic year towards the cost of home to school or college travel.

Direct payment or Personal Travel Budgets

We will contact you if you are eligible for a direct payment or personal travel plan for home to school travel. 

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: 

The current mileage rate applicable for both Direct Payments and Personal Budgets is 25p per mile.

The rate takes into account HMRC guidance to avoid personal tax liability.

How to apply for school travel

You can apply for school travel assistance for the following September at any time during the school year however we will assess your application and tell you our decision from April 2020 onwards.

TAAP  dates Jan-June 2020

  • Tuesday 28 January 2020
  • Thursday 27 February 2020
  • Wednesday 18 March 2020
  • Thursday 2 April 2020
  • Thursday 23 April 2020
  • Thursday 21 May 2020
  • Thursday 18 June 2020

We aim to process travel applications within 14 days. It may take us longer at the start of term and during peak periods.

Parents /carers are responsible for making any interim travel arrangements while you wait for a travel pass to arrive. We do not reimburse travel expenses. 

Renewing your school travel

We will automatically renew your child's travel pass when moving up to the next school year up if your circumstances have not changed and they still meet the criteria.  We will tell you of any changes to the Education Travel Policy that affect the continuation of your child’s entitlement to travel assistance.

It is important that you inform us of any change in circumstances (for example a change of school or address) as this may affect your child’s entitlement.

We will send you your travel pass in the two weeks before the start of the new school year.

Change of address or moving to a different school

You must tell us about a change of address or school so that we can reassess your details and update our records. Contact us by email  schooltransport@transportservicesolutions.co.uk

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 the middle of 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.

If you don't qualify for free school travel

We will tell you about other travel options if you don't qualify for free school travel.  This may include:

You may ask us to review our decision

Using your travel pass

All pupils must carry their pass and be ready to show it to the driver each time they travel. You should keep your pass safe and in good condition.  We tell bus operators to enforce a ‘no pass, no travel’ policy to make sure that only pupils who are eligible to travel do so.

Passes are valid for a return journey to/from school, Monday to Friday only unless otherwise stated. You can see more conditions of use on the reverse side of the travel pass. We treat the misuse and/or fraudulent use of a travel pass seriously and it could result in transport being withdrawn. Misuse includes:

  • use by anyone other than the named pass holder
  • attempted use for unauthorised journeys
  • using a damaged or defaced travel pass

Lost or damaged travel pass

You must apply to replace a lost or damaged travel pass as soon as possible. We charge £15 for a replacement pass.  You can pay this as part of the application.

Apply for a replacement pass

Once a pass 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.

Change of address or moving to a different school

You must tell us about a change of address or school so that we can reassess your details and update our records. Contact us by email  schooltransport@transportservicesolutions.co.uk

Cancelling a pass

You should return any passes that are no longer required to: Transport Service Solutions, Cledford Lane, Middlewich, CW10 0JN.

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.

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, must be received before or during the half term break.

We are unable to refund any payments once term resumes irrespective of the number of days a student may or may not have travelled.

We are committed to providing a high standard of service but there may be times when your child experiences problems with the bus or rail service they use. You can report problems or concerns by email to  schooltransport@transportservicesolutions.co.uk. We will investigate the issue and take the appropriate course of action.

We will consider a pupil's school travel needs as part of their Education Health Care Plan.

See Entitlement to School Transport for pupils with complex special needs

However if the student is moving into Post 16 education and meets the eligibility criteria then applications should be made online before Easter of the year that they are due to start their Post 16 course.  Late applications may mean that travel assistance is not in place at the start of the academic year.

Contact us

transportpolicy@transportservicesolutions.co.uk

0300 123 5012

Monday to Friday 8:30 to 17:00

Postal Address only:

Transport Service Solutions
Cledford Lane
Middlewich
Cheshire
CW10 0JR


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