If your child is not entitled to free home to school transport we operate a scheme to make vacant seats on contracted transport available to non-entitled pupils. There is an annual fee, given on application.
We do not have to provide a concessionary seat and we cannot guarantee one will be available, so you should not make decisions about your child's education based on the assumption that there will be a concessionary transport place for them.
Applications are not considered before the October half term – parents or carers are responsible for their child's transport to school during the first part of the Autumn term. We cannot guarantee a space will be offered after that.
How the scheme works
If a vehicle contracted by us operates between your local area and your child's school, you can apply for a seat for your child.
If a seat is available, parents are expected to transport their child from home to the nearest pick-up point. We are unable to change pick-up points to accommodate pupils who have a concessionary place.
The transport is provided for 'entitled' pupils who will be given priority when we allocate seats. We cannot guarantee that a concessionary seat will remain available. It may even be necessary for us to withdraw a seat at short notice during a school term. Although this rarely arises, parents should be aware that it is a possibility.
Applying for a concessionary seat
To apply for a concessionary seat, complete and return the application form ST2, which you can get from the Education Awards and Benefits team. A separate application must be completed for each child.
All applications will then be considered and any spare seats will be allocated according to the following priorities:
- medical reasons – any application on medical grounds must be supported by a medical certificate. It may be necessary to seek verification from the District Health Authority
- pupils embarked on public examination courses
- pupils who have attended the school the longest
- siblings – children with brothers or sisters already in attendance at the school
- distance – children living furthest from the school will have priority if it is necessary to decide the allocation of seats between children who have attended the school for the same length of time
We are unable to speed up the processing of concessionary places and parents remain responsible for making sure their child attends school during this time.
If you are unsuccessful, you don't need to reapply each term as we'll keep your application on our reserve list. If extra places become available they will be allocated from the reserve list.
Do not send any money until requested.
You will be sent a statement requesting payment and telling you the date when renewal payments are due. If full payment is not received by the required date, the seat will be allocated to a pupil on the waiting list.
If you cannot afford to pay
The children of families who receive income based Jobseekers Allowance, income support or incapacity benefit, can travel free of charge under the scheme. Please note this is not the same as an entitlement to free transport. We have decided not to charge pupils whose families are in these circumstances for concessionary places.
If you receive one of these qualifying benefits you should indicate this in the space provided on the form. You need to send current documentary evidence to show that your receive the benefit.
If your circumstances change
If you stop receiving a qualifying benefit, or your financial circumstances change, you must inform the Passenger Transport Unit immediately. If you qualify for exemption from charge during a term you will be reimbursed the amount you paid for that term. On the other hand, if you cease to qualify during a term, you will be allowed to continue to travel free of charge until the end of that period.
Each child aged 11 to 16 with a concessionary seat will be issued with a distinctive pass, which will be valid for one term for journeys to school. Renewed passes will be sent by post, provided the necessary payment has been received.
If your child is at primary school a ticket may not be issued. In this case, we will send the operator your child's details so that he or she can travel on the contract.
Please note it is the child's responsibility to have the pass ready to show the bus driver when requested. Failure to produce the appropriate pass may result in the driver refusing travel.
Keeping an allocated seat
Allocation of concessionary seats is subject to continual review. If as a result of review, it should be necessary to withdraw a concessionary seat, you will be informed as soon as possible before the start of term.
On occasions it may be necessary to withdraw a concessionary seat mid-term to accommodate an 'entitled' pupil who has moved to the area. Where this occurs, parents will be given a refund in proportion to the unexpired period of the pass. You will then be responsibility for providing transport for your child.
These situations rarely arise, but parents should note these points carefully.
If your child loses or mislays a ticket or photo card, replacements can be obtained as follows:
- bus season tickets are available direct from the company concerned for a fee. Parents should contact the operator directly
- rail season tickets are available from email@example.com, also for a fee. Parents should contact them directly
Contract coach passes are available from the Passenger Transport Unit by sending £10 to the address shown below. Cheques should be made payable to 'Thurrock Council'. There is no exemption for replacement pass charges.
If your transport needs change
If you change address, your child leaves school or there is any other change in your circumstances, you must immediately return the pass to the Passenger Transport Unit with an explanatory letter.
If your child is travelling under the concessionary scheme and you move out of the area during the first 3 weeks – first 15 school days – of a half term period, half the payment will be refunded, otherwise there will be no refunds.
If your child is travelling under the concessionary scheme and is absent for medical reasons, we regret that we are unable to make any refund.
Behaviour on the buses
Children must behave reasonably and safely at all times when travelling on school transport and comply with directions given by the driver or other authorised people. No eating, drinking or smoking is allowed on any school transport. We expect the support of parents in maintaining acceptable standards of behaviour.
Any child misbehaving on the journey may have appropriate action taken against them. In extreme or persistent cases, this may result in the complete withdrawal of transport facilities.