COVID-19 School Transport Guidance
From September 2020 there will be no requirement for social distancing on dedicated home to school transport (services which exclusively carry children and young people travelling to school or college).
You can read our full guidance which includes information on face coverings and seating by using the buttons below.
We provide home to school transport from the agreed drop off and pick up points at the start and end of the school day. Transport is provided for eligible pupils to schools and academies, special schools, faith schools, further educational establishments, colleges and pupil referral units.
Information about over 16 student transport
To apply for school transport please visit our application page and use the online form you will find there.
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.
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 ‘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, please see ‘Request school transport on a paying basis’.
Due to Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) which came into effect from 1st January 2020, Transporting Somerset is unable to offer paid seats on most of the School Transport network, however applications will be considered for school routes where PSVAR does not apply.
It is your responsibility as a parent or carer to make sure that your child gets to and from the pick-up and drop-off points safely. You are also responsible for your child while they are waiting for the transport to arrive and after they have left the vehicle at the end of the school day.
The pick-up or drop-off point may be up to half a mile from home for a child under 8 years old and up to 1 mile from home for children over 8. If the pick-up or drop-off point is further away than the recommended distance, we will offer you a petrol allowance to transport your child to and from the bus stop.
For pupils who receive school transport from their home address, usually for children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (previously known as a Statement of Special Educational Needs) or on medical grounds, a parent or carer must be at home to bring their child out to the transport in the morning and receive their child from the school transport in the afternoon.
We ask that all pupils are waiting at the bus stop 5 minutes before the vehicle is due to arrive. We also ask that children wait for 20 minutes after the bus is due, in case the vehicle has been delayed due to traffic. We always try to tell parents about any delays we know of.
If your child misses the arranged transport in the morning you must make your own arrangements to get them to school. If your child attends an after school club or is unable to use the transport at the end of the normal school day, you must make your own arrangements to get your child home. This includes after school detentions.
Even if your child travels on their own in a taxi, you must still make your own arrangements if they are staying late at school, because we only schedule transport at the end of the normal school day.
If your child uses a public service vehicle, their bus pass may allow them to travel later than the normal end of the school day.
Transport is provided to and from your child’s home address, town or village. If transport is required to a different address, town or village, you are responsible for making these arrangements.
If your child uses school transport and invites a friend home for tea who does not travel on the same bus as your child, unfortunately, the friend would not be able to travel on the bus for safety and insurance purposes.
If transport is unable to run because of adverse weather conditions and you can transport your own child to school, it is your responsibility to collect them from school at the end of the day. We will update our Transport affected by bad weather page with the latest information about school and public transport during a period of bad weather.
We aim for a maximum length of journey of approximately 45 minutes each way for primary age children and 1 hour and 15 minutes each way for middle or secondary age children unless they are travelling to a special school outside Somerset.
Petrol allowance payments for school transport
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.
School transport and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities – Information about school transport eligibility and SEND