Higher charges for post-16 school transport proposed

News

Some students in post-16 education could be charged more for school transport by the county council.

Most will not see any changes to their travel arrangements, but the proposed increase would affect 325 sixth-form and college students where West Sussex County Council arranges their transport, for example by coach.

These students currently pay £427 a year towards the cost of their transport.

The proposal is to raise this to £600 to bring the cost in line with the cost of contract coach places and the price of an equivalent journey on public transport.

Students with special educational needs and disability (SEND) who do not pay transport charges because of a low family income will not be affected by any changes.

Richard Burrett, cabinet member for education and skills, said: “This is a consultation to enable people to have their say. No decisions have been made and we would like to hear people’s thoughts on these changes before we make a decision on the way forward.”

The council has a statutory duty to provide assistance with transport to eligible pupils in the county, but it does not have a legal responsibility to provide free transport for post-16 students.

A bursary is available for students from families on a low income to help with education costs, including transport.

The 16-19 Bursary Fund is open to all students, whether they have SEND or not, and is administered by each college or school.

The majority of students walk, cycle, or pay for their own travel to school or college. Many students also use commercial bus and train operators’ student discounts which have been set up in partnership between the county council and transport operators.

The consultation will run until Thursday 19 October. Visit the council’s website.

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