Please provide full answers to each of the following questions about school transport arrangements in your area:
1. For the academic year just ended, how many pupils received free home to school transport?
Figures vary per month but based on month of January 13,746 received free transport
2. What was the total cost to the local authority of this provision? If possible please break this down by contracts for commercial buses/coaches, and passes for children to travel on public services.
For the financial year 2019/20 £27,639,839. This includes all transport for mainstream, SEND and Post 16.
Transport is not defined by “Commercial buses/coaches” and total cost will include all costs for PSV (9 passenger seats and over) and taxi (8 seats and under) as well as passes on public services. The cost of these passes on local train and bus services in the 2019/20 financial year was £1,204,596
3. How many children received concessionary/spare/vacant seat places, and if possible how much money was received for these?
591 of which 450 Post 16 students and 141 concessionary
In the financial year 2019/20 income was £298,433
4. What is the current estimate for how many pupils will receive free home to school transport for the coming academic year and the current estimate of the cost to the authority?
We do not hold this information. Applications are still being received and passengers are still being allocated to transport during August.
5. Has the authority allowed applications for concessionary/spare/vacant seat places, revised numbers or told parents that there may not be capacity this year because of coronavirus?
Yes but with the message that the number of seats available may be affected by how we are able to load vehicles for September.
6. Is the authority doing anything else to reduce demand for school buses, such as offering to reimburse parents for mileage expenses if they drive their children to school, or recruiting minicabs etc? If so please provide details.
Devon County Council is working with operators and schools and colleges to manage school transport in September. We await the detailed school transport guidance from the Department for Education but our planning takes into account loadings possible on closed contracted transport and what additional capacity may be required for those who travel by public transport.
Walking and cycling is an option for shorter journeys but being a large rural County many children travel long distances to reach school and college. Mileage expenses and the use of smaller vehicles are always an option in normal planning of school transport and this year will be no different.