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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 9th October, 2012

 

Report of the Director of Development Services

 

To Review the Cost of Annual Passes for Dedicated Mainstream School Transport

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To obtain the views of the Committee on proposals for increasing the price of the passes which are sold for use on dedicated school transport buses (Home to School) by those not entitled to free school transport by virtue of distance.

Recommendations

1.             That the Committee notes the report and the proposed increase in the cost of passes sold for use on dedicated school transport services from £180 to £225 per academic year per pupil.  This would be applicable to all purchase transactions received after the proposal is approved.

2.             That the Committee endorses the proposed increase and refers the matter to Cabinet for consideration.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To seek the views of the Committee.

2.             To bring the charge for the passes in line with a comparable charge on the "Fare Paying" school buses for those not entitled to free school transport.

Background

2.             Where pupils are not entitled to free school transport by virtue of distance, it may be possible, if places are available, to purchase direct from the Council a pass that will allow travel on the dedicated contracted school bus.  This option is not available on "Fare Paying" school buses as these season tickets are purchased direct from the bus operator, who retains the revenue.

Relevant Issues and Options

3.             The current charge for the pass is £180 per pupil for a full academic year.  It is proposed that this is increased to £225 from the start of the academic year 2012 / 2013.  Applications already received will be honoured at the current rate.  During the course of a year, the school transport unit issues approximately 70 of these passes.

4.             The current charge for passes has not been increased for some five years.  As a result, charges are not in line with charges on fare paying school buses (where pupils are normally travelling shorter distances) and they are significantly below the commercial fare pattern.  For example, an annual child season ticket from Wenvoe to Barry with Cardiff Bus costs £460, although this does allow travel for a full year across the Cardiff Bus Network.  A season ticket on the Council fare paying Service S14 (Bryn Hafren to Garden Suburb) costs £225 for the academic year.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

5.             The increase in cost of the annual pass from £180 to £225 would potentially generate additional income of £3,150. 

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

6.             Issuing passes does help to make the transport more sustainable as spare places are used to the best advantage.  The effective use of school transport services also helps reduce the number of individual car journeys.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

7.             The Council has no statutory obligation to cater for pupils living within 3 miles (Secondary) or 2 miles (Primary) of the nearest suitable school.  Parents are free to exercise their right to choose a school outside catchment and may wish to purchase a pass on a school bus, dependent on space availability.

Crime and Disorder Implications

8.             School bus services aim to provide a safe environment for children to travel to and from school.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

9.             Not applicable as the service is discretionary.

Corporate/Service Objectives

10.        To assist in the sustainability of certain school bus routes.

Policy Framework and Budget

11.        This report is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

12.        As this report potentially affects all wards, individual Members have not been consulted.  Schools will be advised of the change.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

13.        Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Ceri Edwards - Schools Transport - 01446 704722,

 

Officers Consulted

Finance, ICT & Property - Financial Services

Legal - Committee Reports

 

Responsible Officer

Rob Thomas - Director of Development Services

 

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