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By Haddenham Webteam - 18th February 2014 12:15am
Parents' views sought on school transport proposals
Bucks County Council has recently announced 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.
To date, the County Council has been able to subsidise the cost of school transport for many children — going above and beyond what many other councils do to meet their legal requirements, but it can no longer afford to do so at the same level.
The Council is therefore considering a package of measures to reduce costs, but cannot avoid proposing to increase fares.
Children under 16 who live in Buckinghamshire currently pay around £2 a day (£390 a year) for their transport, regardless of distance travelled; the actual cost to the council of transporting each pupil is on average £1,000 a year.
To take part in the surveys which run until Friday 21st March please click here
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.
Details of the meeting dates and venues can be found here
Cllr Appleyard said: "With home to school transport accounting for a significant proportion of the children and young people's budget, we have had to review the arrangements we have in place in these areas to find a way of providing young people with transport in a way that is fair and affordable within the funding we have.
"We understand parents may have concerns about this consultation, and our greatest desire is always to work together to find a solution that is in the best interests of the child. This is why it is important that all parents and carers concerned get involved and give us their views."