People are reminded to have their say on proposed changes to the Council’s home to school transport services across West Northamptonshire.
Residents are invited to take part in the consultation via West Northamptonshire Council’s (WNC) consultation hub before midnight on Tuesday 30 May, to share their views on proposed changes to the service for children up to the age of 16.
A separate consultation on the Post-16 policy will take place later this year, following the completion of a public transport review which is currently being undertaken
The review of the service is the first to take place in a decade and seeks to ensure it is delivered in line with other local councils and at a reasonable cost, by tackling challenges including a significant increase in demand from users and rising operating costs caused by high fuel prices and inflation. It also explores opportunities for a more flexible, environmentally friendly service that increases choices for parents and better supports the independence of young people.
Key proposals include:
One of the key changes is the review of the non-entitled (paid for) transport scheme, which currently enables parents to pay for seats on Council-run school bus services for children not eligible for free places. The existing cost of a seat is £600 which has not been reviewed or increased for over 10 years and it is proposed that this will increase to £1,000 from September 2024. This will bring the cost in line with other local authorities and better reflect the actual cost of providing a seat. Other proposed changes to the scheme include only offering seats if spare capacity is available on existing contracted services.
All proposals being put forward would apply from September 2024 and only affect those applying for a bus place from this period and beyond. The consultation does not cover home to school transport policies for students aged 16 and over, which will be reviewed later this year, following a fuller review of all bus services.
Cllr Phil Larratt, Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport, Highways and Waste, said: “We want to make sure that we are providing the best and most cost-effective service for residents and one which is fair and efficient for all who use it.
“To achieve this, it is vital that we listen to and carefully consider the views of parents, carers, and children and young people who may be affected by these proposals so we can ensure the service continues to meet the needs of our community. I strongly encourage everyone to take part in this consultation and get involved.”
The findings of the consultation will be published and presented to WNC’s Cabinet later this year. Feedback will help to inform any decision by the Council on the proposed changes to the home to school transport policy and how transport assistance is delivered.
Residents can take part in the consultation in the following ways:
Consultation drop-in events have already been held in Northampton, Brackley and Towcester, and two further events are scheduled on 4 May in Towcester, and 10 May in Daventry. Please find the details below:
For more information on Home to School Transport please visit the School travel assistance webpage.