How to Stop children using the bus - Jonathan {p}
I originally posted this in the evil spy in the sky thread, but then though it deserves its own thread.

Having lived in Cumbria for many years, I know what a god send these bus services are, as often the primary school is nowhere near the secondary school so taking 2 children to different schools can be a logistical nightmare.

Then they (the government) plan to charge anyone who uses their car to take their children to school because its cheaper than using what used to be a free bus, causing further congestion around the schools, meaning more parents drive their children because they are afraid of them getting knocked down because of double parking around the school because its too congested...... ad nauseum.

The US and Canada have a fantastic school bus service, where all traffic stops when their lights are flashing. Why don't we look to other countries solutions, rather than blindly ruin what little good ideas we have left.


Taken from the BBC link above:

Since 1944, local authorities have been obliged under the Education Act to provide free transport for all children living more than three miles from school (two miles if the child is under eight years old.)

Local authorities have provided free transport

But in the Queen's Speech, the government unveiled plans which could force parents to pay for their children's school run.

Twenty local authorities around the country will be invited to take part in a pilot scheme which will allow them to opt out of providing the free transport.

After three years, the government will review the results of the pilot, and some people believe it may lead to all local authorities being ordered to follow suit.

At the moment, free school buses cost local authorities millions of pounds.

Part of the thinking behind the new plans is to get parents who can afford it to pay for their children to make their own way to and from school.

Afford to pay

It could be argued that the free system effectively subsidises wealthy families who could easily afford to make their own arrangements.

The new system will be means tested, so that children from poorer families will still be entitled to free travel.

North East school transport
Cumbria 15,000 pupils, costing £11.2m
Durham 20,000 pupils, costing £10m
Northumberland 11,000 pupils, costing £8.3m
North Yorkshire: 20,000 pupils, costing £16m

Some of the figures make interesting reading.

Every day, the four big authorities in the North East provide free school transport for 66,000 schoolchildren.

The total bill for this comes to £45.5m.

Council tax payer to benefit

On the face of it, these local authorities could save council tax payers millions by removing free school buses. But it is not that simple.

Under the terms of the pilot scheme, councils which withdraw free transport are obliged to make sure a paid service is made available to all children who live further than one mile away from their school.

In a busy urban area, this wouldn't pose much of a problem, there are plenty of commercial bus services which the children could use.

But in a place like rural north Northumberland, there are few if any commercial buses running.

This means the council would have to make provision for such a service, so that even though the child would have to bear the cost of the bus journey, the council would bear the cost of providing the bus.

How to Stop children using the bus - HF
That would indeed be a ludicrous situation.

However, it's not quite true that local authorities provide transport for *all* children.

I dared to make the decision to send my eldest to a grammar school in another borough, rather than to the local comprehensive which I had many, important, reasons to decline. Because of this, I have to pay school bus fees of almost £700 per year.

The alternative, as Jonathan states above, is the logistical nightmare of trying to get two kids by car to two different schools in completely different areas. It just can't be done.

But the ridiculous thing is that other families in my area, who are much wealthier than myself, get free school bus transport simply because they were out of the catchment area for the crummy local comp.

How to Stop children using the bus - cockle {P}
I dared to make the decision to send my eldest to
a grammar school in another borough, rather than to the local
comprehensive which I had many, important, reasons to decline. Because of
this, I have to pay school bus fees of almost £700
per year.

My son also attends a grammar, but fortunately we only live a couple of miles away, some of his school mates travel 30 odd miles to attend and have to pay a sum similar to HF's. Unfortunately, half way through term, the contract bus company went to the wall, literally overnight and left them with no transport at all. A new company was found, but, of course, required payment. This has now left those people not only having to pay twice but unlikely to see any money back from the first company as they are now unsecured creditors in the lengthy winding up process.

As to stopping children using the bus, my son now cycles most days but occasionally has to catch the bus when he has bulky items to take in with him. It now costs just under £2 each way as he is over 14 and must pay adult fare, mind you that would only help one way as before 9am our buses have no child rates. The real killer is that our two bus companies do a joint weekly 'rover' ticket, anywhere in the area, for £11, but the daily 'rover' at £1.80 is only valid on the issuing company's buses and as he needs two buses to get to school, one of each company, he has to have two 'rovers' and the cheapest he can do it is £3.60 for the day. Therefore, it is a 'no-brainer', for an odd days travel; warm, dry, convenient travel for less than a pounds worth of petrol or stand in the cold and wet for a bus and pay £3.60.


Value my car