After some families experienced difficulty obtaining bus passes for home to school transport Buckinghamshire County Council have issued a joint statement.
The joint statement on home to school transport was issued from Buckinghamshire County Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Arif Hussain and the Cabinet Member for Transportation, Mark Shaw.
The statement is as follows : ‘We apologise for the difficulties being experienced currently by families in obtaining their bus passes for home to school transport at the start of the school term. We recognise this has been a difficult time for everyone affected. The difficulties have been due to a number of contributing factors including technical issues printing bus passes and using the online payment system in time for the start of term. We did administer approx. 4,000 passes however 100 were affected by these issues. Alternative emergency solutions were put in place quickly to resolve the issues.
Should there be any ongoing issues linked to bus passes it is important to reassure families that if pupils are accepted for paid-for school transport, or are eligible for free school transport, they will be able to travel without a pass to and from school today and if necessary, until Friday 13th September .
To rectify the problems being experienced we have taken action as follows:
- Temporary school bus passes were emailed to parents from Tuesday this week to use as a temporary measure.
- We have also sent temporary printed passes to schools which they are handing out today and in the coming days as needed.
- We have brought in extra staff to help process all applications and get bus passes out to families as soon as possible.
Free school transport renewals are automatic so eligible children do not need to re-apply.
We are aware of a few instances of timetable variations which have caused some confusion, for which we apologise. All timetables have been corrected where necessary, and the correct versions are available to view on our website at https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/media/4514570/september-timetables.pdf.
We know that some families applied for paid-for transport earlier in the year but will have been notified between 19 and 30 August  that they have been unsuccessful with securing a place. We appreciate the challenges involved with getting children to and from schools; however we do make clear at the first stage of the school admissions process that transporting children is parents and carers responsibility and that we cannot guarantee a paid-for place on school buses for every child. This is because we allocate transport first for those eligible for free home to school transport and then release any spare seats on a paid-for basis.
If you have not been successful in securing a paid-for place at this stage we will place you on a waiting list for future spare places and will aim to notify all families by [Thursday] 31st October 2019 if you have been offered a spare seat. We are working in partnership with commercial bus companies to provide services that will increase our transport offer to parents. Currently 21 services have been identified for September , and we are expecting more to be available over the coming months.
Administering home to school transport and paid-for transport across Buckinghamshire is an extremely complex operation. Please be assured that everyone involved is working hard to resolve the current issues. We apologise for not getting everything right this time and we thank everyone for their patience in the meantime.‘
Anyone wishing to check school bus routes and boarding points information can do so on the Buckinghamshire County Council website at https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/media/4514570/september-timetables.pdf.
Further information about payment deadlines and bus passes can be found by viewing the paid for transport information on the Buckinghamshire County Council website at https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/education/school-transport/apply-for-paid-for-school-transport/.
The Buckinghamshire County Council school transport policies are available on on the Buckinghamshire County Council website at https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/education/school-transport/school-transport-policies/.
Anyone who has viewed the information available on the Buckinghamshire County Council website and still has a query is advised to contact the County Council by phone on 01296 395000, via the County Council webchat or contact form on the County Council website at https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/contact-and-complaints/contact-us/.
*Source of article : Press release from Buckinghamshire County Council.