2020/21 Academic year
We have taken the difficult decision to suspend the 2020/21 County Ticket scheme due to the on-going impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result of potential social distancing measures and possible changes to the level of college attendance required from September 2020, an annual pre-paid ticket is not the most viable option.
Due to the potential reduction in the number of days students may need to attend college, the County Ticket option would not be the most cost-effective solution for students at this stage. For those students needing to travel via public transport, purchasing one of the ticket options offered by the public transport operators would be more cost-effective. At this time, we are unable to guarantee the level of service bus operators can provide whilst COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, including evening and weekend travel which is an additional benefit of the annual ticket.
For those students who need to access public transport from September, purchasing tickets directly from the bus operator would be the most flexible and cost-effective option under the current circumstances. Bus operators will continue to offer discounted student tickets and for further information, please refer to our Post-16 Transport Policy.
For those students attending a sixth form school and wishing to travel on a contracted school bus for the next academic year, there is the option of applying for a paid seat on the contracted school bus, where there is space available. It is important to note that there is no guarantee of seat availability as this can only be accommodated where there is sufficient capacity within Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) 2020 and where this can be done safely within the anticipated social distancing requirements.
For 6th form students attending post 16 provision at a Local Authority School or Academy, please refer to the Post 16 Travel Policy 2020/21 for more information.
Bus services to colleges from September 2020
2020/21 Academic year
The Government is working to make sure transport is not a barrier to people accessing education establishments from September. As part of this work, local authorities have been awarded over £40m to make sure college and school students can travel safely.
There are many ways students can travel to places of education. First, we encourage all students to walk, cycle or scoot to college if they can and if they live a short distance (2 miles or less) from their further education college or school. This will help to reduce pressure on the public transport network for the people who need it most.
If students aren’t able to walk, cycle or scoot, they can use public transport or drive to get to their school or college. If parents or students are car-sharing with someone outside of their support bubble or family, they should share with the same people each time, open the windows for ventilation and wear a face covering, unless they are under 11 or they are exempt.
If students are using public transport, they should continue to follow government guidelines to make sure they can travel safely on the network. They should plan their journey in advance and allow more time to get to their school or college. By law, they must wear a face covering for the whole of their journey if they are over 11 years and are not exempt, wash or sanitise their hands regularly and social distance where possible.
In Somerset, we have been working closely with colleges to make sure there is additional network capacity where needed. This includes closing some college bus routes to students only, making sure children and young people do not mix with the general public – which helps limit the number of people they come into contact with. As students are travelling with their peers on these services, the social distancing guidance is relaxed and the full seated capacity of the vehicle can be used, although no standing passengers are allowed. Students over 11 will still be required to wear a face covering.
We have also added duplicate vehicles on certain routes to increase capacity where required. Students will be directed by the driver to the closed college vehicle, however, if this becomes full and students need to board the normal public service vehicle which is open to the public, social distances rules of 1 metre plus will apply.
Please visit the Department for Transport website for full guidelines.
This Excel document gives details of the bus routes for each college. Please use the tabs at the bottom of the document to find your college’s information.
Transport ticket options
All bus operators offer a range of daily tickets and most can offer types of season tickets at a discounted rate and we have included some information in the Post 16 Transport Policy Statement 2020/21.
We strongly advise you to check your options with the various bus operators to ensure you are aware of the most appropriate ticket for your individual needs. Please be aware that Somerset County Council has no control or responsibility over the amount commercial operators charge for their own tickets. They also have the right to vary their ticket prices as and when they feel it is commercially necessary.
You may be entitled to claim funding from the 16-19 Bursary Fund. please use this link or contact your chosen 16+ establishment for more information.
This fund is administrated by the Education and Training providers and Somerset County Council has no involvement with eligibility or payments.