Travel to school
There is a statutory duty placed upon the Council to provide pupils with free transport to their nearest suitable school if they reside beyond the “walking distance” to that school, which the councils Home to School Transport Policy define as 2 miles for secondary and 1.5 miles for primary pupils.
The organisation of the home to school transport provision is undertaken by the Integrated Transport Unit on behalf of the Council and is located in the Customer Services Directorate. Any enquiries associated with home to school transport should be addressed to the transport section on 01685 726256 / 726288.
Free Transport from Home to School
Your child must attend his/her 'relevant' school. The 'relevant' school is the catchment area or nearest school (even if the school attended is not maintained by the authority, for example, if it is in a neighbouring LEA area).
For children in Primary Junior and Infants Schools the distance between the home and the school must be more than one and a half miles via the nearest available walking route.
For all other pupils the distance between the home and the school must be more than two miles via the nearest available walking route.
- Please Note : Where pupils attend, as a result of parental preference, a school other than the nearest suitable school, as recognised by this Council, parents/carers will accept full responsibility for transport arrangements. (This will involve making all the necessary arrangements and meeting the cost thereof).
These are only issued to eligible pupils who travel on vehicles that allow fare paying passengers. If you are to be provided with a pass you will receive a form in the post, please fill in the form and attach a passport photo and return to:
Integrated Transport Unit,
Merthyr Industrial Park
Merthyr Tydfil CF48 4DR.
Once you received your pass it must be produced when boarding the appropriate vehicle as contractors have been instructed not to allow any child to travel on a vehicle without one. It is important that this pass is kept safe as there may be a charge for any replacement.
Monitoring and Complaints Procedure
All vehicles will be available for random checks by the Traffic Commissioner, or other appropriate body, when required. Any complaints received by the Council from parents concerning services or vehicles will be investigated immediately. In the event of a complaint being upheld, action will be taken in accordance with the conditions outlined in the contract.
The Council will, on unspecified days, undertake random checks on contracts to ensure that they are being complied with.
Poor behaviour on school transport is a danger to pupils, the driver, escort and other road users. It can also deter operators from tendering for school services. To improve safety on school transport by tackling unacceptable behaviour the Welsh Government has issued an All Wales Travel Behaviour Code which will come into being on 1st January 2010. The Code promotes safe travel for all learners, by setting out standards of behaviour required.
Safety on school transport is the joint responsibility of all parties, including pupils, schools, transport operators and the Council. The Council has prepared a short booklet in line with the Travel Behaviour Code statutory guidance outlining the responsibilities and what is expected of each party. A copy of the booklet will be issued to all pupils deemed eligible for home to school transport at the commencement of the transport provision.
Pupils whose behaviour, whilst travelling to and from school, is not of an acceptable standard, are liable to have the provision of free transport withdrawn. Any proven incidents of damage to the vehicle may also result in parents being asked to contribute to the cost of any repairs.
All children must be carried in a safe manner and contractors should ensure that if applicable, the correct seat belt, harness or other appropriate restraint be worn. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that children aged 3 - 13 years wear a seat belt if fitted. Children aged 14 years and above would themselves be responsible for wearing seat belts if fitted. Where necessary, in addition to the services of a driver, arrangements will be made for the provision of an escort (or escorts) on all transport other than to and from secondary schools.
In accordance with normal Department procedures all drivers and escorts will be subject to the customary Criminal Record Bureau Checks which operates in relation to all persons who have day to day contact with children within the Council’s area of responsibility.
The contractor shall provide a driver and/or escort and will not permit any person to drive the vehicle unless the person concerned has all the necessary licences under the terms of the contract.
The Welsh Government regards it as good practice that headteachers ensure that there is supervision of embarkation and disembarkation, whether on, outside or near the school premises. The level of supervision will depend on local circumstances and the age of the pupils.
Pupils whose families move to an address outside a school’s local traditional area will not be provided with free school transport if that move takes place during primary education or years seven, eight or nine of secondary education. Applications made on behalf of pupils who move in years ten and eleven will be considered on an individual basis. Such transport will usually be provided if it can be made available by existing services and represent no additional charge to the Council.