THE ‘no pass, no travel’ rule on school transport has been suspended by Worcestershire County Council for the first few weeks of term due to the high volume of late applications.
The county council has received more than 4,200 applications since the start of summer, with the surge in late applications meaning some parents have not received their child’s free bus pass for school.
If parents are aware their child is entitled to free school transport but have not received their pass, they can keep any tickets used by their child on a service which will be fully refunded by the council.
Coun Tracey Onslow, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Education, said: “Our priority is to ensure that eligible children can access and use school transport.
“I’m sorry for any concern caused but I’d like to reassure all parents entitled to a free bus pass, that their child can still travel on school transport without a physical bus pass and they will be entitled to a full refund for any fares paid.”
Coun Mike Rouse, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Highways and Transport, added the Education Travel Team had worked extremely hard to get all of the applications processed over the summer but 292 applications had been submitted in the last week alone.
One Bromsgrove mum who contacted the Standard said she applied for her sons’ school transport in April after his school place was confirmed but was still waiting for a response, and feared she would have to change or potentially reduce her working hours with no other support available for school pick-ups.
A county council spokesperson said it recognized parents’ frustrations and advised them to check the letter issued by the Transport Team regarding the authority’s Home to School travel policy eligibility criteria before applying.
Applications from those not eligible will be reviewed after passes had been allocated to those who were.
Parents of non-eligible pupils wishing to take advantage of any discretionary places will be placed on a waiting list.
Parents are advised to make their own suitable travel arrangements for the start of the new academic year an once vacant seat availability is confirmed, the Transport Team would be in touch.
The council added, as was standard practice, confirmation of all vacant seat offers would not be made until after October half-term as seats for all eligible children needed to be allocated first.