Terms and conditions of travel

Buckinghamshire Council has a legal duty to provide free transport between home and school for children who are entitled under the county’s Home to School Transport Policy.

We also offer transport to other children in return for payment if there are spare places on vehicles already arranged to meet the needs of the children entitled to free transport. This is known as the ‘Spare Seat Scheme'.

Please note:

  • The use of the words 'student' or 'pupil' applies to all children on transport.
  • The council reserves the right to amend its school transport policies at any time. The latest versions are available on the website.

Terms of travel for all students

  1. If your child leaves the school or moves address, you must notify us and return any bus pass.
  2. There will be a charge of £13, payable to Buckinghamshire Council, for new, lost, damaged or updated school bus passes.
  3. The pickup and drop off point for taxis or minibuses may be a central point that pupils will have to get to and from. Pickup and drop off points may be subject to change for reasons of service efficiency. Notice of any change to these will be seven days, where possible.
  4. Parents or carers have responsibility for a child whilst they travel to and from school on the transport provided.
  5. Parents must ensure that a child can get safely to and from the school transport bus stop or pick-up point.

If you are in any doubt of your child's ability to safely walk between home and the bus stop / pick up point then you should ensure they are accompanied. It is noted that in many cases it is not necessary or possible for parents to accompany a child to the bus stop or pick up point.

It is essential that your child knows what to do in the event they have forgotten their bus pass and are not allowed to travel, or if the vehicle does not arrive for some reason. This could be returning home, telephoning you as the parent/carer, or another arrangement made with the child.

  1. The council accepts no liability of any kind in respect of any delay to school transport services at any time of day, regardless of the cause.
  2. The council does accept limited financial liability where a transport service fails to run at all for any reason that is proved to be the fault of the transport provider. This liability is limited to a refund of the price for the individual morning and/or afternoon journey(s) as applicable, as set by the council's Spare Seat Scheme. Any claim for a refund must be made through the school transport 'contact us' form. This must be done within five days of the date when the failure occurred. Late applications will only be accepted if there are exceptional reasons and the council’s decision on this will be final.
  3. Parents or carers of children with an Education, Health and Care Plan who are on dedicated SEN Transport must ensure they are at home at pick up in the morning and for drop off in the afternoon. Transport crews are not allowed to leave the child without the appropriate handover.

Terms of travel for students on the Spare Seat Scheme

  1. When parents apply for a paid-for seat under the Spare Seat Scheme, places are offered in the following order of priority (If there are multiple applicants within the same priority group, seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis according to the date and time of the online application.):
  • First priority is given to renewal applications so that, where possible, children who have previously had a spare seat can continue to have one. However, we cannot guarantee that a spare seat will continue to be available on any given route.
  • The next priority is given to these priority groups in the following order:
    • looked-after children and former looked-after children who have been adopted.
    • children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
    • children of armed forces personnel as part of the Buckinghamshire Armed Forces Covenant.
  • Next priority is given to siblings of students given a place under priority one above and siblings of eligible students travelling on the same route. Also included are siblings of eligible students travelling on the same route.
  • After that, remaining spare seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis according to the date and time of the online application.
  1. If transport is offered under the Spare Seat Scheme, it is the parent’s or carer’s responsibility to ensure payment is made (or a Direct Debit set up) by the deadline. The payment deadline will be set out in your spare seat offer letter, and dates will also be given on the website.
  2. Failure to pay by the required date will result in the place being offered to another child. The next opportunity to apply for a spare seat will be for the following term.

If you have opted to pay by monthly Direct Debit, you must ensure you are able to pay all the payments. If payments are not kept up, your child’s place will be taken away and you will be required to pay the remaining period of the term that you have cancelled payments in.

If you need more flexibility with transport e.g. only needed for the first 2 terms, then the alternative shorter termly payment methods should be considered instead.

If transport is offered, it is the parent’s or carer’s responsibility to ensure payment is made (or a Direct Debit set up) in advance of the period their child is travelling. Passes are not valid before the period chosen and paid for.

  1. The default offer of a paid-for place is on a bus (based on the preferences in the application form and available space); unless ‘TAXI’ is specified as a preference on the form. Where space is not available on a bus, but a taxi/ minibus that operates in the area does have space this may be offered instead, with parents informed of the boarding point as happens with the buses.
  2. The council's Transport Service recognises the importance of the Spare Seat Scheme to the families concerned. We will do our best, once a place on scheme has been offered, to keep it for the child during their time at that school.

A guarantee cannot be given that a place on the Spare Seat Scheme will not be withdrawn at some future date. The council reserves the right to withdraw transport from a pupil on the Spare Seat Scheme where any of the following apply:

  • the place is needed for an entitled pupil
  • the route is subject to change with a reduced seating capacity in order to reduce costs
  • the route ceases to run because no entitled pupils need transport
  • other operational reasons.

Where a Spare Seat Scheme place has to be withdrawn, parents/ carers will receive no less than five working days’ notice to enable them to make alternative arrangements.

Withdrawal of paid-for places will be according to the priority order listed at the top of this section.

  1. The council’s refund policy is set out in the cancellation/ refund policy (see below).
  2. School transport closure and route disruption information will be posted on our webpages at www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/school-transport and you agree to use this service in the event of a delayed or cancelled day of transport.

Transport Services will use your (parent/carer) email address as the main form of contact regarding your paid-for place on transport. You must ensure your email address is kept up to date. Failure to do so may result in your place being lost.

  1. First priority is given to renewal applications so that, where possible, children who have previously had a spare seat can continue to have one. However, we cannot guarantee that a spare seat will continue to be available on any given route.

Conditions of travel for all students

  1. Transport may be withdrawn for a child whose behaviour is not acceptable on the journey.
    • Following an instance of bad behaviour, the parent/ carer will receive a written warning letter.
    • If the child continues to misbehave on transport, they will be given a five-day ban, followed by a ten-day ban and finally, the transport provision can be withdrawn permanently.
    • It will then become the responsibility of the parent/ carer to ensure their child’s attendance to school.
    • If the incident is considered serious enough then the Council reserves the right to withdraw the child from transport immediately.
    • When warning notices are issued to parents/ carers it is expected that they will check with their child that behaviour is appropriate.
  2. If travelling on a bus, pupils must carry their bus pass at all times as they will be required to show them when they board the vehicle. Failure to produce a valid bus pass when boarding will result in the pupil being refused travel.

    Defaced, out of date, or passes intended for other users or other services will be retained by either the driver or other transport service staff. Pupils on taxi transport are not usually issued with passes. Pupils must not attempt to board any taxi unless a seat on that taxi has been approved (either as an entitled passenger or as a paid-for passenger).  Children not eligible to travel will not be able to board. Please see clause 7 below.

    If your child loses their bus pass a five-day temporary bus pass can be got from their school office. This can be used whilst you order a replacement bus pass for your child. If the bus pass is lost before boarding transport in the morning, transport will need to be arranged by the parent/carer at their own expense.

  3. Pupils are requested not to eat or drink on the transport for health & safety reasons.
  4. Pupils must not smoke on school transport vehicles.
  5. Pupils are expected to comply with the driver or passenger assistant’s instructions.
  6. Vehicles must be left tidy by pupils at all times.
  7. If your child is found to be travelling without a valid bus pass and/or payment is owing, a fine of £100 will be given for each occasion this happens unless we have been notified and have authorised the travel. The £100 fine will be reduced to £75 if paid within 28 days of the letter. Payment of a penalty does not entitle the student to use home to school transport services.

Applications for paid-for transport will not be considered until all outstanding penalties have been resolved.

Spare Seat Scheme cancellation and refund policy

If you wish to cancel payments or request a refund for a Spare Seat Scheme transport place that you no longer need, please complete the Cancellation of Transport / Refund Form. Once we receive your cancellation / refund request form, we will review it and will contact you to let you know whether a refund is due.

  • Refunds will be based on the remaining number of full term periods that have been paid for. There is no refund payable for the remainder of the term in which you cancelled.
  • If you pay by Direct Debit, we will let you know if a payment is due to cover the remainder of the term in which you cancelled, or whether you are due a refund.
  • There is no refund payable after the start of the summer term (including Direct Debit payers).
  • If you request a refund, please complete the online form and then return your child’s spare seat travel pass by post to:

Client Transport, Buckinghamshire Council, Walton Street, Aylesbury, HP20 1YZ.

We cannot process your refund if you do not return the travel pass.

  • A refund will only be calculated from the date that the pass is received and date stamped in the Client Transport office. Proof of postage is not proof of receipt.
  • Refunds / payments due are calculated based on the standard school term dates as published on the Buckinghamshire Council website. They are not adjusted based on individual school term dates or year group variations.
  • The Council accepts limited financial liability where a transport service fails to run at all for any reason that is proven to be the fault of the transport provider. This limited liability is limited to a refund of the price for the individual morning and/or afternoon journey(s) as applicable, as set by the council's Spare Seat Scheme. Any claim for a refund must be made using the school transport 'Contact us' form within 5 days of the failure. Late applications will only be accepted if there are exceptional reasons and the Council’s decision will be final.
  • Any spare seats are advertised on a termly basis via the Spare Seat Scheme. If you need a place at a later date you will have to reapply if a suitable seat is available.

If you know that you will not need transport for the whole year, please consider paying for your pass on the more flexible termly payment option instead.

Contact

Contact the Transport Service for:

  • bus boarding and alighting points
  • Spare Seat Scheme
  • 16+ SEND travel renewals
  • bus passes
  • complaints about the application of the Spare Seat Scheme
  • the running of the transport

Integrated Transport Service
Buckinghamshire Council
Walton Street Offices
Walton Street
Aylesbury
HP20 1YZ

Tel: 01296 387 439 (open from 8am term time and 9am non-term time)

Please contact the Admissions and Transport Team for:

  • eligibility and entitlement for free home to school transport
  • exceptional circumstances
  • complaints about the administration of the school transport policy 

Admissions and Transport Team
Buckinghamshire Council
Walton Street Offices
Walton Street
Aylesbury
HP20 1UZ

For SEN / EHCP enquiries please contact your linked SEN Officer.

Last updated: 22 September 2021

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