On Friday 14th February 2014 Buckinghamshire County Council launched two consultations on proposals to reduce the amount spent on home-to-school transport for pupils under 16 years old, post-16 and out-of-county pupils.
The County Council is currently subsidising the cost of school transport for many children – going above and beyond what many other councils do to meet their legal requirements however it can no longer afford to do so at the same level.
Therefore a package of measures is being considered by the Council to reduce costs, but cannot avoid proposing to increase fares.
Children under 16 who live in Buckinghamshire and are not eligible for free transport, currently pay around £2 a day (£390 a year), regardless of distance travelled; the actual cost to the council of transporting each pupil is on average £1,000 a year.
The consultations ask people to consider if the council should continue to offer a Paid-for (discretionary) service where parents/carers can buy a seat, when there is space on an existing school bus route.
Other proposals include replacing more of its school transport routes with public transport routes; and options for parents to pay for transport places by direct debit over 6 or 8 months.
For Buckinghamshire resident pre-16s, the survey asks parents and carers to consider proposed increases to the cost of travel to at least £3 per school day per child. For post-16 and out-of-county pupils, the survey asks parents and carers to consider proposed fare increases.
In addition to the online survey, a series of eleven public meetings will be held at locations around the county to allow parents to hear detailed information on the proposed changes, ask questions and discuss options with Mike Appleyard, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills.
To take part in the surveys which run until 21 st March 2014 please visit www.buckscc.gov.uk/haveyoursay where details of the meeting dates and venues can also be found.