Help with transport to and from school (concessionary travel scheme)

Where hire vehicles are used to transport children to school that meet the criteria for transport assistance, there may be spare seats available.  If this is the case, the council will make these places available for a charge to other pupils wishing to travel to school on the same route.  This arrangement is known as the concessionary travel scheme.

Please note that the concessionary travel scheme does not have eligibility criteria, nor does it defer between EHCP and non-EHCP children. For information about travel assistance to school or college for children under 16 and for post 16 students and how to apply, see the below articles.

School travel assistance for children under 16

Travel assistance to school or college for post 16 students

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Conditions of the concessionary travel scheme

Whilst the council will make any spare seats available for concessionary travellers, if those places are needed for other children who are eligible for the transport, the council will follow and impose certain conditions as set out below.

Availability of concessionary places

A concessionary place is available only when it is not required for an entitled passenger.  For this reason the council cannot guarantee a seat being available, and you should not assume you will receive an offer of a seat for each academic year.  If the transport service need the seat for an entitled passenger, or if the route changes or ceases to run, the concessionary place will be withdrawn.  This may be at very short notice.  In these circumstances you need to make your own transport arrangements.

Offer of concessionary places

The council can only offer concessionary places once it is certain there are spare seats available, after meeting the needs of entitled children.  This can take some time to finalise at the beginning of each academic year, in order to be certain of places taken up by entitled children in relation to vehicle capacity.  It may be some weeks before concessionary places can be offered, possibly only towards the end of Term 1 in October.

The transport service aim to process all applications for concessionary places as quickly as possible, however priority is given to dealing with children who are entitled to the space.

If you are hoping for a concessionary place, you are strongly advised to make alternative arrangements before the start of the academic year, and anticipate that these arrangements may be needed for some weeks.  Remember there is no guarantee of a concessionary place being available after this time.

Routes and pick up points

The route used by the vehicle is arranged for those children who are entitled to that transport.  If your child is offered a concessionary place, they must use the pick-up/drop off points already arranged as diversion of the route for concessionary passengers is not normally possible.

Charges for concessionary places

The charge for concessionary places is set by the council and is normally reviewed annually to keep it in line with inflation.  Each year the revised fees will be displayed on the application form

Concessionary places, when available, will be provided free of charge if your child is eligible for free school meals.

Applications process

Concessionary places are extremely popular for some schools and are often over-subscribed.  To ensure all applications for a place are dealt with in a fair and consistent way, where there is an over-subscription, places will be allocated by drawing lots.

Concessionary application form

Application forms are available from 1st August each year and should be submitted before 31st August. At this time they will be held until the allocation and/or draw takes place in Term 1

  • an application should be made for each individual child, and only one application per child will be accepted
  • applications must be on the current year’s application form showing current fees - applications made on previous years’ forms will not be accepted
  • any applications received after 31st August will be held separately until the allocation/draw has taken place and seats allocated, these applications will then be considered for any remaining seats
  • if a draw is required, it will be held at South Gloucestershire Council, Badminton Road Office, Badminton Road, Yate, BS37 5AF at the earliest opportunity
  • if you wish to check the availability of a suitable route, call the Client Transport Team on 01454 863924/01454 863925 (places cannot be reserved over the telephone, but they will be pleased to give details of current routes, pick-up points etc.)
  • if an application is approved and the charge is paid, a pass will be issued to you for the use of your child on the vehicle - no pupil travelling as a concessionary passenger will be allowed to travel unless in possession of the appropriate pass and drivers will require the pass to be shown when boarding the vehicle
  • if an application is approved and no payment is received within two weeks of approval, the place will be reallocated. 

Renewals each academic year

Transport arrangements are made for the school year.  Once an application has been accepted, a seat allocated and payment received, the Client Transport Team will issue a renewal notice prior to the beginning of the January and April terms for the school year.

If you wish to apply for a concessionary place in future years you must re-apply.  Application forms for annual renewal are not issued automatically.  You need to complete an application form as described above.  Allocation of a concessionary place in one year does not mean that a place will necessarily be offered in a subsequent year or years.

Unsuccessful applications

Unsuccessful applicants’ details will be held on a waiting list.  Places will be allocated from this waiting list as and when seats become available, in accordance with the draw position.  For example if four seats are available and your application is drawn 6th, you will be 2nd on the waiting list.

What happens if I have more than one child applying for places?

An application form is required for each child applying for a concessionary place.  Each application will be treated on an individual basis and places allocated accordingly.  It may be possible therefore that multi applications from one family may not necessarily all be successful.

What happens if I turn down a place and then wish to take it back up at a later date?

If there are further applications for this seat, the seat will be reallocated and your application will go to the bottom of the list.  If there are no further applications for this seat, it may be possible upon payment of the appropriate fee to re-allocate the place to you.