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Frequently asked questions about sale of spare seats on school transport

What is the cost of a spare seat ?

A spare seat can be purchased for an academic year for a one off payment of  £420.00. Alternatively payment can be made on a monthly basis by direct debit. The cost using this method is £450.00 for the academic year and the monthly charge is £45. 

How do I apply to purchase a  spare seat?

Applications can be made on the Purchasing a spare seat on a school transport bus page.  If you require assistance with your application you can visit the council's Contact Centre in the Civic Centre where council staff will be able to assist you or you can telephone the Transport Team on 01792 636347

When can I make application for a spare seat ?

You can make application from mid July onwards.  If the council knows that it will definitely not be able to sell you a seat on your chosen contract bus, it will contact you soon after your application is received so that you can consider making alternative arrangements.  Otherwise, you will not be contacted until September. Any payment you have made will be refunded if your application is unsuccessful.

How can I find out which contract bus passes nearest to my home ?

A list of contract buses to each school is shown on the PDF Document Mainstream school bus services from August 2017 (PDF, 57KB)Opens new window.  If you live in an area where transport is not provided to your child's school, you will need to work out which contract bus stops closest to your home.  If you require any assistance, please contact the council's Transport Team (Telephone 01792 636347).

If my application is successful, will a contract bus divert to serve my area ?

Unfortunately this is not possible.  However, if a contract bus passes through your area on route to and from the school, arrangements can be made for your child to travel, provided that this does not entail the bus having to divert off route.

When will I be advised if my application for a spare seat has been successful ?

You will be notified in the last week of September.

Why aren't spare seats sold from the first week of September when the schools return ?

The council has to be certain that all children with an entitlement to free transport are accommodated on the contract buses before any spare seats can be sold.  This process takes a number of weeks in view of the thousands of children for whom the council has to provide free transport.  During the first few weeks of the Autumn Term, the council has to take into account changes that have occurred during the school Summer holidays, such as changes of address and pupils decisions following examination results.  Therefore, the sale of spare seats has to be delayed until this process is completed.

I purchased a spare seat last academic year.  Will I automatically be able to buy a spare seat this academic year ?

Unfortunately not, .you will need to reapply.  Spare seats are only sold if available, and their availability from year to year cannot be guaranteed due to changes in pupil numbers.

I understand that even though I may be successful in buying a spare seat, my child may have to forfeit the seat at any time during the academic year.

That is correct.  If a child with entitlement to free transport moves into the catchment area during the year, the council may have to accommodate that child on a contract bus in preference to a child purchasing a spare seat.  If your child is displaced, you will receive a refund for the proportion of the year when you child is not able to travel.

If my circumstances change after buying a spare seat, can I get a refund ?

Yes you can.  The refund is calculated on the cost per full month from when the returned pass is received by the Transport Team. Where a pass has been purchased for the year and full payment has been received, then the cost for the full remaining months will be made upon receipt of the pass. Where the pass has been purchased on a monthly basis, payments will be cancelled following receipt of the pass by the Transport Team.

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