If you are the parents or guardians of children who use school transport this information clarifies some details about the school transport arrangements made for your child.
You can apply for school transport for your child on our Apply for school transport page.
Bus passes will be issued within six weeks of the start of the academic year. Passes will be delivered to the school and will then be given out to all new pupils. Until all passes are delivered, all operators have been told not to refuse travel. The pass will expire at the end of the pupil's time at the school and should be kept for travel in future academic years.
If passes are lost or stolen, you must get a replacement from Transporting Somerset at a charge of £10 to cover administration costs. Please see the page Request a Replacement School Bus Pass for more information. For pupils who don't qualify for free school transport you can apply for a spare seat on a vehicle on a paying basis. For more information Request school transport on a paying basis. Please click here for the costs of a Pay Seat.
If your child has left property on a school transport vehicle, please contact the operator directly to arrange to collect it. If you don't know who the operator is or want their contact details, please contact us and we will tell you.
We make school transport arrangements by contracting the work to local transport operators and by using public service vehicles. All vehicles used to transport children are subject to rigorous safety checks throughout the year, and as part of the contract with our operators, all drivers and passenger assistants must attend our driver training seminars. Seat belts are installed on all our contracted vehicles and booster seats are provided for children travelling on taxis who are required by law to have one, although parents must tell us that a booster seat is needed. Suitable harnesses are provided for children travelling in wheelchairs.
Where necessary a passenger assistant will be provided to help children. All drivers and passenger assistants who work on school transport must have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate.
We continually monitor the safety of the vehicles we use, including passenger loadings and behaviour, and pick-up and drop-off points. All vehicles used for school transport are checked by our Vehicle Quality Control Officer at the contractors' premises and as part of a rolling programme of unannounced spot-checks at schools with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and the police. Public service vehicles have a more rigorous MOT than a car and have to have regular documented checks. Taxis are checked twice a year; once at their MOT and again when they are assessed for their Hackney or Private Hire licence plate.
Driver and Passenger Assistant Training
All drivers and passenger assistants must hold an enhanced DBS certificate before they can transport children. All drivers and passenger assistants transporting pupils with special educational needs attend our training for passenger care, wheelchair handling, emergency aid, child protection and behaviour management. They also get support visits from our safety team. Coach and minibus drivers also receive training in behaviour management and safety on buses. Once drivers and passenger assistants have received their DBS certificate, we will issue them with a photo identity badge. This badge is your assurance that they are cleared to work with children.
If you would like more information about vehicle safety or the driver training programmes we run, or if you have any concerns you would like to discuss, please contact us.
In some circumstances we will grant parents or guardians a petrol allowance to drive their own child to school or to the nearest bus stop. This may happen if there is no existing transport network in the area, or if the child has a specific need which can be best met by the parent or guardian. We will pay for the 4 journeys required: from home to school or the bus stop and return in the morning; and from home to school or the bus stop and return in the afternoon.
We will calculate the mileage from your home address to the school by the shortest available driving route. This distance will be multiplied by the number of journeys necessary and we will pay you the current standard rate, 18p per mile, to give you your daily rate.
We reserve the right to agree petrol allowances individually, up to a maximum threshold, where this provides best value. This will be reviewed each year to allow other travel strategies to be employed. Parents being offered a petrol allowance will be asked to complete and return a reply slip confirming they have the correct licence, MOT and insurance for conveying children on all school transport journeys.