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School transport options

1. School transport options

Paying for home to school transport

If your child is not eligible for free council-provided school transport, you should first check to find out if there is a suitable public transport service between home and school that they can use.

If there is no suitable public transport service, you may be able to pay for a seat on a school bus service.

Applying to buy a seat works in one of two ways, depending on the route your child needs to use.

  1. Some routes are run on behalf of the Council to provide transport for eligible children. If there are spare seats on these services, they are made available to paying parents under the Council’s Spare Seat Scheme.
  2. Other school routes are operated independently by commercial coach companies, and in this case parents should contact the coach company that operates the route to purchase a seat, subject to availability, and for any further information.

Public transport

You can get season tickets and child discounts from most bus and train operators or see the Citizencard information. See our local bus timetable page or plan a journey on Traveline. Taxi operators may also offer discounts for regular journeys.

Schools

Ask your school if they have a travel plan in place – this can include walking and cycling routes. See our cycle training information.

Childcare

If you use a childminder they may be able take your child to school, or pick them up. If they’re close to school they may walk or drive your child there.

Parent and community schemes

Your school PTA may help you to see if there is interest in contracting your own transport through a local operator. ‘Walking buses’ that use parents as volunteers to pick up children, walk them to school and take them home may work for some groups of parents.

Car share

Setting up a lift scheme for parents to car-share may be an option, or consider using a car share app like Liftshare.

 

2. The Spare Seat Scheme

By law, the council must provide school bus services for those pupils who are eligible for free transport. The Council runs school buses where required for children who qualify. On some routes there may be a limited number of spare seats that are not needed for eligible children. We offer these seats to parents who wish to pay for a place for their child through the Spare Seat Scheme.

Starting with places for the autumn term 2021, the Spare Seat Scheme is changing. New seats will now be advertised a term-by-term basis, rather than through an ongoing waiting list.

This means there will be more regular opportunities for parents to purchase spare seats when they are available.

The key steps in getting a spare seat are:

  1. Parent applies for a seat. (applications will open on 24 June 2021 and close on 19 July 2021) – The Council will publish information on which bus routes, including stops, on 24 June 2021, this will be followed by further information on the number of spare seats available for purchase on each bus after seats are allocated to eligible students.
  2. Notification of outcome and acceptance of offer. We will notify all applicants of whether we can offer them a seat. If you are not successful, you will need to make alternative arrangements for transporting your child to school. If you are offered a seat you must pay and provide a photograph of your child.
  3. Bus pass issued.

    Once we receive your payment and your child’s photograph, we will print and send their bus pass to you.

Application stage

Once we know exactly how many seats are needed by eligible pupils, the remaining available spare seats will be advertised on the website, listed by route.  This will allow parents to see straightaway whether their desired route has seats available. Full details will be provided on how to apply, should a suitable place be available.

We will advertise spare seat availability at least two months before the beginning of each term. For the autumn term 2021, we are expecting to publish available spare seats during the week of 24 June 2021. Once details of spare seats go live on our website, there will be a three-week window in which to apply.

We are also introducing a new priority system to help make spare seat allocation clearer and fairer. This is set out in our terms and conditions of travel.

Once you have been offered and have accepted a place on the Spare Seat Scheme we will assume that you require the seat for the whole year, unless you tell us otherwise. You will not need to reapply each term. However, we cannot guarantee that spare seats will continue to be available on any particular route – see our terms and conditions of travel.

Outcome and acceptance

If you apply for a spare seat, you will be told of the outcome of your application at least one month before the beginning of the start of term. For the autumn term 2021 this will be by the end of July. As the number of spare seats on offer is limited, you should not rely on getting one. You should always plan an alternative way of getting your child to and from school in case your application is unsuccessful.

If your application is successful, we will provide you with details of the seat you have secured and ask you to confirm the place by arranging payment by the deadline of 17 August. Payment can be made online in advance for a term or for the full year, or you can opt to pay in monthly instalments by setting up a Direct Debit.

If you miss the payment deadline, you risk losing the offer of a place.

Bus pass issued

Once payment is in place, we will issue your child’s bus pass. This should arrive within 10 days of receiving your payment.

3. Pay for or replace a school bus pass

If we are able to offer you a place under the spare seat scheme, we will send you an offer letter. To accept this offer you must pay online or send us your Direct Debit instruction by the stated deadline.

 

What you'll need to pay online

To pay, you'll need your Customer Reference number (5 digit reference number on your letter).

The first time you pay you will need to create an account. This means you can check the progress of your payment and speed up future payments.

 Pay

 

Paying by Direct Debit

All customers who would like to pay by Direct Debit must:

  • fully complete the Direct Debit instruction form enclosed with their offer
  • complete each of the mandatory fields, including the electronic signature, to ensure we know who the transport is for
  • submit it to us online by selecting ‘I am returning an acceptance of a transport offer’ and attaching your completed Direct Debit instruction form and a clear, recent head and shoulders photograph of your child under the 'Photograph and Documents' section

These requirements apply to all customers, including those who have paid by Direct Debit in the past.

Offers under the spare seat scheme are made prior to the start of the school year and during the autumn term.

The months your first and final 8 monthly direct debit payments are made will depend on when you are offered a renewal or new paid-for place on school transport.

Offer round Initial month of payment (1st / 17th) Final month of payment
Renewals September April
Round 1 October May
Round 2 November June

If we are able to offer you a paid-for place on school transport during the Autumn Term, the offer will be valid from the second half of the Autumn Term.

Therefore the total annual charge split over the 8 monthly payments will be reduced by the 7 weeks of the first half of the autumn term

The following terms and conditions are agreed to as part of accepting to pay for your child's paid-for place over 8 monthly direct debit payments:

  • By renewing your child's transport, you agree that you have read and understood the full Terms and Conditions of Transport and also the Behaviour Protocol.
  • If you fail to keep up with repayments or if you cancel your direct debit mandate, you will still be liable to pay any remaining outstanding balance for the rest of the term. The transport pass for your child(ren) will become invalid and will be withdrawn.

  • No replacement or future pass(es) will be issued by Buckinghamshire Council for your child(ren) until any debt owing is repaid.
  • We reserve the right to disallow you from making any future application for payments, where a previous request to make payments has failed, even when the debt owing has subsequently been repaid.

 

Renewals

If you pay termly for your bus pass it is important that you renew your child’s bus pass within the dates below. If you do not renew before this date we will assume that you no longer need home to school transport. Any spare seats will be released to other parents who are waiting for a school bus space for their child.

 

Term

Period

Open on morning of

Closing at midnight on

Annual

Whole school year

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Monday 6 July 2020

Autumn 2020

Whole Term

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Monday 6 July 2020

Spring 2021

Whole Term

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Monday 7 December 2020

Summer 2021

Whole Term

Wednesday 3 March 2021

Monday 22 March 2021

2021/22 School Year

Whole school year

Monday 18 May 2021
(To be confirmed)

To be confirmed

 

Lost or damaged bus pass

The cost of a replacement bus pass is £13. 

You can apply online for a replacement bus passYour school may issue you a temporary 5 day bus pass free of charge while you are waiting for a replacement. To request this, please contact your school reception.

 

Refunds and cancellations

You can request a refund or cancel your bus pass if you no longer need it.

If you pay for your pass annually and by Direct Debit, you will be required to pay for the remainder of the term for which the cancellation is requested and any refund due will be paid.

No refund will be given if you pay per term and cancel mid-term.

Please read our cancellation and refund policy for more information. 

 

Contact details

For enquiries regarding home to school transport please use our contact us form

 

4. Find a school bus stop

These routes and stopping points are for the 2020/21 academic year. These details only refer to council-run bus services. Other services are run independently by commercial coach companies.

Routes for 2021/22 will be published here by 24 June 2021

Standard timetables for Council-run school transport for 2020/21 can be found here.

For information on the timetables for public bus services and school-only bus services run independently of the Council see our local bus timetables page or plan a journey on Traveline.

Bus times may be subject to change. Pupils should be ready and waiting five minutes before the morning boarding time. Transport may be delayed occasionally due to exceptional circumstances, such as adverse weather conditions or unusually heavy traffic.  

You can search for details of Council-run school buses and boarding points using this search facility.

  1. Select the school
  2. Select your location (where you live or your most convenient boarding location)
  3. Select your most convenient boarding point