Issue - meetings
School Transport - Concessionary Spare Seats
Meeting: 18/12/2018 - Cabinet (Item 277)
As detailed in the recommendations.
Councillor Thomas introduced the School Transport – Concessionary Spare Seats report which considered the costs of the concessionary fares for the 2019/20 school year.
Reports were submitted to Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet in July 2018 following which Cabinet approved adoption of Option 2 - £300 per year or £100 per term, as the pricing structure for a concessionary bus pass for 2018/19, with a review to be carried out. This rate was still less than 50% of the full cost of providing concessionary seats which created financial pressures for the Authority. The Council’s high level aim was to maximise revenue generation and achieve full cost recovery wherever possible.
The impact of the increase in the cost of the concessionary seats had not had a detrimental impact on the numbers requesting concessionary seats however, the number of pupils purchasing those seats were historically low in number. The greatest impact would be on those moving to the school buses from the publically supported bus service, when the subsidies to those routes was to end. Those pupils would be faced with a higher cost of concessionary fares; it was important to note that they were paying fares on the public services and the recommended charge for concessionary passes represented reasonable value, when set against the current charging levels for journeys to school on the public bus services. The options for future concessionary fares were detailed in the appendix to the report.
Whilst the long term aim would be full cost recovery for the service, it was considered unfair to raise the charges to that level over such a short period of time and therefore options 1 and 3 were not recommended at this point in time. Option 2 - £450 per year or £150 per term provided a balanced position against full cost recovery and the affordability of the scheme for parents, particularly those with a number of children travelling to school on those services and was therefore recommended for the 2019/20 school year. The charge would be introduced from September 2019 and the rate charged for concessionary seats would in future form part of the annual review of fees and charges across all Council services.
Councillor Roberts added that the school admissions form had been amended to include a ‘tick box’ for parents to indicate that they understood the transport policy and arrangements. He said the policy had been generous in previous years and it was the aim of the education department that all schools perform to the best possible standard and parental choice should be for their nearest school. If the required criteria was still met then transport would be provided.
(a) That the information provided on revenue projections from the various options for concessionary fare prices be noted;
(b) That Option 2 - £450 per year (£150 per term) as the preferred rate for concessionary seats in 2019/20 be approved.