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 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.
Buses to schools
Please note that due to new government regulations being implemented from January 2020, the spare seat policy may need to be withdrawn from September 2020 onwards.
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.
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:
- 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.
- Children of low income families, but are above the level for free transport. See the home to school transport policy for more detail.
- Siblings of those entitled to free transport.
- 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
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 mid-August or, in some cases, the start of autumn term.
So make sure you have alternative travel arrangements in place for September.
|Miles (home to school)||Charges per pupil (19/20 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.