Spare seats scheme – school transport

You can purchase spare seats on "Education route" buses and coaches that we run across the county, if there are any available.

Education Bus Routes 2020-21

We are happy to provide spare seats on buses / coaches operated by the county council (which are already running) to provide transport for pupils who have a statutory entitlement for 2021/22. However, this depends on current timeframes outlined in central government's roadmap out of lockdown.

It also depends on whether further exemption is granted from the requirement to comply with the Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) for school-procured vehicles used for home-to-school transport. We are currently waiting for an update from central government and will update this advice asap.

No-one is automatically entitled to a spare seat and we can't guarantee that a child will keep their place for longer than a term.

Education route buses and coaches only transport pupils who qualify for free travel under our current home to school transport policy. They don't run to every school. The scheme doesn't include public or commercial bus routes.

Applicants for the 2020/2021 academic year should not assume that existing spare seats will be available on vehicles operated by the county council for children if their child is not entitled to free home to school transport.

Who’s eligible

Firstly, seats are given to:

  • statutory school-aged pupils who are eligible for free transport
  • students aged 16-25 who are eligible for travel assistance due to their disabilities and / or learning difficulties.

If there are spare seats once all eligible pupils have been allocated, they will be offered in the following order:

  • statutory school-aged pupils
  • students aged 16-19.

If we receive more applications than spare seats available, we'll allocate seats based on the following criteria:  

  1. Children Looked After, children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabled pupils who don't have a statutory entitlement to transport but may benefit from a spare seat as a result of their SEN or disability. In either case, this is on the basis of a particular medical or social need to travel to this school.

    In this case, we'll send you an Individual Transport Needs Form. A panel of our senior officers will consider each application and whether the evidence provided meet the requirements.

  2. Children of low income families, but are above the level for free transport. See the home to school transport policy for more detail.

  3. Siblings of those entitled to free transport.

  4. Distance from school, giving priority to those living furthest away.

We can't guarantee seat availability each term, and you won't have a continued right to purchase spare seats. Availability depends on the number of children who have a statutory entitlement to transport – that might change throughout the year.

How to apply

Email the admissions and transport team to apply for the spare seats scheme.

We'll need the child's name, date of birth and the school they've been allocated.

Applications and payments for spare seats for the next academic year must be received by the last day of the summer term. If you need to pay by cheque, send it with your application form.

We can’t offer spare seats until we’ve processed all applications. This means we won’t issue tickets until the start of the autumn term.

So make sure you have alternative travel arrangements in place for September.


Miles (home to school)Charges per pupil (21/22 academic year)

0 – 2.99


3 – 4.99


5 – 6.99


7 and over


You can pay for a spare seat annually, termly or half termly.

Once a spare seat has been agreed, we'll send you a letter or email confirming the seat.

To pay by credit or debit card, call 0300 123 4050 and ask for the Passenger Transport spare seat payment team.

If you've already sent a cheque with your application form, we'll cash it once your seat has been agreed.

Tickets will be issued on a termly basis but can be withdrawn if:

  • payment has not been received for at least the following half term
  • an eligible pupil joins that route and a seat is required. In these circumstances, seats will be withdrawn in reverse criteria order and a minimum of 2 weeks’ notice will be given.