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Frequently Asked Questions for Primary and Secondary School Pupils

How do I apply for school transport?

If you wish to apply for school transport for a child who will be starting primary school in September 2012, you should apply as early as possible. This can be done by completing an online Application Form or by calling the school transport team on 0300 1237039. Applications for pupils in years 1-6 can be made at anytime, but please note the information below if you are simply looking to renew your child’s transport.

The Integrated Transport Service has already contacted the parents/carers of those pupils who are starting at a secondary school (year 7 only) in September 2011 if we believe that they are eligible for help with school transport.  If you have not received a letter, but believe that your child may be eligible for school transport, you should complete an online Application Form or call us on 0300 1237039. Applications for pupils in years 8-11 can be made at anytime, but please note the information below if you are simply looking to renew your child’s transport.

How do I renew transport for my child?

If your child is eligible for assisted transport, received a travel pass in 2011/2012 and will be moving up to the next school year, their details will be automatically renewed for 2012/2013. Travel passes will be issued before the start of term, so it is important that you inform us of any change of circumstances (such as a change of school, address or financial circumstances if you qualify on this basis) as this may affect your child’s entitlement.

What happens if we change our address or move to a different school?

A change of address or school must be reported so that we can reassess your details and update our records. Please contact us by emailing schooltransportenquiries@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk or by calling us on 0300 1237039. Passes that are no longer required should be returned to the Integrated Transport Service for cancellation. Please ensure that you contact us immediately if you are no longer in receipt of a benefit that entitled your child to a travel pass.

My child will attend a denominational school, is there now a charge for school transport?

If your child will be starting at, or transferring to, their catchment denominational primary or secondary school in September 2011, a charge towards the cost of transport is required. The annual charge for 2011/2012 is £315. Payment can be made on a termly or half termly basis and there will be no charge for those pupils who qualify for free transport under the previous Policy (prior to September 2008), if they are continuing in statutory education at the same school. Please note there will be a substantial change to this policy from September 2012, please see Summary of changes.

There will be no reduction to the charge on occasions when your child does not use the service, or if the service does not operate due to reasons beyond the authority’s control. Parents/carers are not obligated to purchase a seat on the local authority’s school transport services and are free to make the appropriate travel arrangements to best meet their family’s needs. If you do wish to use the local authority’s school transport services, you are required to make the necessary payment on time and ensure that your child is in possession of their travel pass each day. Please note, it is your responsibility to make enquiries about what alternative options or public transport services may be available to you and to compare any costs before proceeding with an application/and or payment. Families who are entitled to one or more of the benefits listed below will be exempt from paying the charge:

Confirmation of a relevant benefit must be provided before the charge can be waived.

My family receives a state benefit, does this mean my child is entitled to free school transport?

If your family qualifies for one of the benefits listed above, it may be possible to get help with school transport. The child must be attending one of three high schools that is between two and six miles of their home address. This assistance is for high school pupils only.

When will I receive the travel pass?

A travel pass for September will be sent to your home address during August.  If you have not received your ticket by Tuesday 16th August please contact us on 0300 1237039.  If you apply part way through the academic year and your child is eligible, the Integrated Transport Service will aim to issue a pass within 14 days.

When you receive the travel pass, please ensure that you keep it in a safe place as a charge will be made to replace lost passes. If you pay towards the cost of your child’s transport, passes will not be dispatched until the payment due has been received.

Do pupils need to carry their pass every day?

It is important that all pupils carry their pass and be ready to show it to the driver each time the vehicle is boarded. Passes should be kept safe and in good condition. To ensure that only those pupils who are eligible to travel do so, bus operators are instructed to enforce a ‘no pass, no travel’ policy.

When and for what journeys can the travel pass be used?

Unless otherwise stated, passes are valid for a return journey to/from school, Monday to Friday only. Please refer to the information on the reverse side of the travel pass for more conditions of use. The misuse and/or fraudulent use of a travel pass is treated seriously and can result in transport being withdrawn. Any of the following may lead to confiscation:

Confiscated passes must be replaced immediately, for which there is a charge of £14.00 for 2011/2012. Please refer to the information below for payment options.

What happens if the travel pass is lost or damaged?

Lost or damaged travel passes must be replaced as soon as possible, for which there is a charge of £14 for 2011/2012. Payment can be made with a debit or credit card online at School Transport Online Payment or by calling us on 0300 1237039. Please have the student reference number ready as this will be asked for. Once a ticket has been replaced the original becomes invalid and cannot be used for travel. Pupils travelling on commercial bus or rail services will be expected to pay their fare until a replacement pass is received and no refunds will be paid for any expenses incurred.

What if the pass is no longer required?

Any passes that are no longer required should be returned with a covering letter to: School Transport, Integrated Transport Service, Rivacre Business Centre, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, CH66 3TL. The pass can then be cancelled so that we only pay for the journeys that have been made - this helps to keep costs down.

If you have purchased a pass that is no longer required, it must be received back in this office for cancellation before the start of term, otherwise no refund will be paid.  Passes that have been used for half a term and are not required for the second half of term, again must be received before or during the half term break.  Once term resumes, we are unable to refund any payments made, irrespective of the number of days a student may or may not have travelled.  We would advise you to return unwanted passes by recorded delivery as we are not able to refund any payments unless we receive the pass.

Will my child need a photocard?

Pupils who travel to and from school by rail, must also carry a valid photocard. If your child is allocated to a rail service, we will contact you to request a passport sized photograph.  If your child already has a photocard, please retain it for use as photocards are not renewed each year. If you lose your photocard, there is a replacement charge of £14 for 2011/2012. You may also need to supply a new photograph. Please refer to the information above for payment options.

Can I claim a refund of fares if the pass arrives late?

It may be possible to claim a refund if your completed application has taken longer than 14 days to process, please contact us on 0300 1237039 if you require a claim form. The following conditions apply:

Retrospective payments for a previous academic year will not be paid.

Can I apply for a spare seat on the bus if my child is not eligible?

If your child is not eligible for school transport, you may be able to purchase a spare seat on the school bus. Spare seats are only offered where available and provided there are no alternative bus services on which a fare can be paid. To apply, you may complete an online Application Form or call us on 0300 1237039. If you are applying for a spare seat for the first time, you are advised to do so as early as possible as the allocation of new seats are processed on a first come, first served basis. The Integrated Transport Service will try to accommodate requests for spare seats wherever possible and aim to allocate seats as soon as we are able to. However, please be aware that due to the varying level of demand and availability of seats, we are unable to guarantee the renewal of a spare seat each year. Please see below the spare seat charges for 2011/2012:

Cost  for 2011/12

Pupils aged 4-16

Pupil at catchment school

£265

Pupil at alternative school

£390

All charges are subject to change and reviewed annually.

In all cases, eligible pupils must take priority and spare seats can only be offered after all eligible pupils have been allocated a seat on the bus. This can often be after the start of term and until we have been able to confirm  if a seat is available, we will be unable to process your payment.

How can I find out about commercial bus services on which my child can pay a fare?

For further information please view the Transport Homepage or telephone the Traveline on 0871 200 2233.

How is poor behaviour managed on school buses?

The Integrated Transport Service works closely with schools and operators to encourage a good standard of behaviour and respect on school transport.  Any bad behaviour or rule-breaking on the journey to and from school will be treated seriously and could result in your child being temporarily or permanently banned from travelling.  Smoking is illegal in public places and this includes all school bus, local bus and rail services.  Any pupils found to be smoking will receive an immediate transport ban.

Is my child entitled to Special Needs transport?

For further information please contact the Assessment and Monitoring Team by calling 0151 337 6433.

My child has been refused a bus pass, can I appeal?

The Integrated Transport Service can only consider transport applications that meet the criteria of the School Transport Policy. Where there are exceptional family circumstances, it may be possible to Appeal against the refusal of transport. Please click here for the appeals procedure or to discuss your circumstances with a member of the eligibility team, call us on 0300 1237039.

Who can I contact if there are problems with the school bus service, or if I have a complaint?

The Integrated Transport Service is committed to providing a high level of service. However, there may be times when your child is experiencing problems with the bus or rail service on which they travel. In the event of a problem arising or if you have any concerns, you can report them to us by emailing publicandmainstream@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk or by calling us on 0300 1233079. We will then investigate the problem and take appropriate action.

If you have a complaint or are dissatisfied in the way you have been treated by a member of staff, please write directly to the Head of Service, Integrated Transport Service, Rivacre Business Centre, Mill Lane, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, CH66 3TL. Any complaints will be investigated and a response will be sent to you within 10 working days.

Contact Details

For all school transport enquiries, you can contact us as at:

Integrated Transport Service,
Rivacre Business Centre,
Mill Lane,
Ellesmere Port,
Cheshire,
CH66 3TL

Tel: 0300 1237039