Council Urged to Work With Parents on School Transport

Carmarthenshire County Council has been urged by a local AM to make life easier for parents struggling to provide school transport for their children. Many parents fall outside the free transport catchment area but have been told they can not pay to allow their children to use bus services because of issues with insurance. However, Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM, has highlighted guidance by the Assembly which states, “if there are spare seats, an authority may allow pupils not entitled to free transport to travel as fare paying passengers on a school bus.” Mr. Thomas AM has now written to the council urging them to take note of the guidance and facilitate requests from parents wherever possible.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM said:

“I have spoken to several parents who have offered to pay for their children to take advantage of school transport. On some occasions their requests have been turned down even though there have been spare seats available on the bus. This has resulted in children having to undertake long and somewhat dangerous walks to school.

This guidance clearly indicates that local authorities have the option of allowing children outside the free travel area to pay in order to take up available space on school buses. I hope that the Labour-Independent council recognise the difficulty parents’ face and look into making this possible in the county.”

Jonathan Edwards MP added:

“No one wants to see young children having to walk to school when there is a safer alternative. Obviously there has to be space available on the buses but if that is the case, and parents who can not access free transport are willing to pay I can not see why that can not be accommodated by the council when the advice they have been given suggests they can. In addition to helping parents this would create added revenue for the coucnil, which at a time when they are faced with job cuts due to financial constraints should be welcomed.”

DIWEDD / ENDS

Nodiadau / Notes:

The guidance note states:

The Learner Travel Operational Guidance[1] describes the Welsh Government’s interpretation of the law for school transport and provides a view about how local authorities should discharge their legal duties. It became effective on 1 April 2009. The Guidance states:

“Section 6 of the [Learner Travel (Wales)] Measure gives a local authority a power to make any arrangement they think fit to facilitate the travel of learners to and from a place where they receive education or training. The power applies in relation to a learner living or studying in the authority’s area.

In relation to ‘surplus seats’ the Guidance states:

Allowances and Concessionary Fare Schemes

“2.7 Local authorities may assist pupils for whom free transport is not provided in a number of ways. For example, if there are spare seats, an authority may allow pupils not entitled to free transport to travel as fare paying passengers on a school bus. Local authorities will need to advise parents that such a facility is only available as long as the seats are not required for pupils entitled to free school transport.”

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[1] Welsh Government, Learner Travel Operational Guidance, 2009

2 Responses to “Council Urged to Work With Parents on School Transport” [latest first]

  1. I am so disapointed school term begins in less than 24hrs, my daughter is lying awake in bed cant sleep worring about not fitting in with other children at school as my appeal request for school transport has been rejected the council havent written to me as of yet I made a telephone call Friday 27th Aug to ask for a decision as term will be commencing following week.
    I am going to appeal further as the bus picks up 3 doors down from my house and drops off across the road from my house at home time, also therre are other children who will be starting Tregib this year and have got bus passes due to appealing so what is the difference???? I am upset my daughter will struggle with this decision

  2. my daugher is another pupil of Tre-gib that is not entitled to free transport even though three buses pass through Llangadog villiage for Tre-gib. These buses are not full and yet the childern have not been offered the chance to use the “spare seat” policy that the Welsh Assembly assures us we are entitled to.The authorities remitt states that they must fasilitate learns to be able to reach school without stress, strain or difficulty that may prevent them from benefiting from education provided.however there is dailly stress of transporting childern to school in the region and juggling work as well.

    School Transport is another step in a childs develpment and is a life skill that leads towards independent young adults.

    Forcing more private cars on the roads at peek times is madness causing envirmental impacts in the region more cars more conjestion more pollution and a less safe pleasent enviroment for all.

    I know that policies are periodically reveiwed and i hope transport for young learners will be reveiwed soon. As a change in policy would improve carmarthenshires enviromental prefomance and minimise the social impact that has arose from refusing all these families school transport.

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