Transport assistance is only available to students who live in Suffolk and whose parents or guardians pay their council tax to a district or borough council in Suffolk.
If Suffolk County Council has any spare seats on contracted vehicles that are not used by children who qualify for free transport, these may be available to be purchased under the Discretionary Travel Scheme. The scheme operated in Suffolk can provide assistance to children, who do not otherwise qualify for free travel, by using spare seats on journeys the county council has arranged specifically for children entitled to free travel. However, this scheme does not extend to the offer of seats on public transport journeys or to other vehicles that have not been hired as a whole to carry out school transport journeys solely for the county council.
Parents whose children do not otherwise qualify for free home-to-school transport who would like them to travel on the transport should register an expression of interest which will then be forwarded to Passenger Transport to assess if there is spare capacity.
Where the offer of a seat can be made, this expression of interest will be confirmed, following completion of an application form, soon after the end of that term. Travel is conditional on the parents/carers accepting the terms and conditions of the offer and making a termly contribution toward the cost of the transport. A lower rate charge is made for shorter journeys to a catchment school, and a higher rate for journeys to non catchment schools.
From September 2012
The lower rate charge will be £160 per child per term
The higher rate charge will be £190 per child per term
Children who are resident in Suffolk, whose families are in receipt of working tax credits at the maximum level or free school meals (or who are entitled to free school meals due to receipt of income support or income based job seekers allowance) will be entitled to exemption from these charges.
Only a maximum of two children in any family are charged; third and subsequent children are exempt from the charge.
In all cases full terms and conditions of the discretionary travel scheme and the payment and exemption arrangements are set out when the offer of a seat on transport being arranged by the county council is confirmed.
Register an interest in discretionary transport (external).
Pay for your bus pass (external).
Frequently Asked Questions
How likely is it that my child will get a discretionary pass?
Discretionary transport can only be offered where there is a spare seat on a school bus arranged by Suffolk County Council. Demand for places may be higher than the number of places available. When this happens we try to allocate places as fairly as we can, taking account a number of factors, such as commitment to existing users, brothers and/or sisters who are already on the scheme in the current year and promptness of application.
Submitting an application does not guarantee a place on a vehicle.
When will I know if my child has a place?
Applications for discretionary transport starting in the new academic year will begin being assessed from August. We will write to you to let you know the outcome of your application.
Every effort will be made to process your application as soon as we can. However, we cannot guarantee a response by the start of the academic year, so please ensure you have alternative transport arrangements in place should this be the case.
If you have not heard from us by October half term please contact us to discuss.
How much will a discretionary transport pass for next year cost?
The charging policy is currently under review and the likelihood is that charges will increase. Details of the new charges will be available towards the end of May.
Please do not wait to hear the new charges before making your application, you can always change your mind later. Applications made after 31st May will be considered as late and assessed after all other on time applications.
For more information on Suffolk County Council home-to-school transport policies and the services provided call 0845 606 6173.