The ‘no pass, no travel’ rule on school transport has been suspended for the first few weeks of term by Worcestershire County Council due to the high volume of late applications.
The County Council has received over 4,200 applications so far since the start of the summer.
The surge in late applications means some parents may not yet have received their child’s free bus pass for school.
If parents are aware that their child is entitled to free school transport and they have not received a pass in time for the first day of school, their child can still travel without a physical pass. They just need to keep any tickets used on a service and eligible parents will be entitled to a full refund from the County Council.
Councillor 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.”
Councillor Mike Rouse, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Highways and Transport, added: “Our Education Travel Team has been working extremely hard to get all of the applications processed over the summer. However, we’ve seen 292 applications come in just last week alone.
“Whilst we process these we are suspending the ‘no pass, no travel’ rule for the first few weeks of term and will issue refunds for tickets purchased during this time.”
In line with the County Council’s usual practice, confirmation of all offers of vacant seats will not be made until after October half-term as the County Council needs to allocate seats to those children who are eligible first. Parents of non-eligible children wishing to take advantage of any discretionary places will be placed on a waiting list and parents are advised to make their own suitable travel arrangements for the start of the new academic year. Once availability of vacant seats is confirmed, the Transport Team will contact parents.
For refunds, parents should send all tickets and their details to:
The Education Travel Team,Worcestershire County Council ,County Hall, Spetchley Road, Worcester, WR5 2NP