Coronavirus: Dedicated school transport

(updated September 2020)

Lancashire County Council is providing School Bus Services in line with the guidance set out by the Department for Education. This government guidance highlights the distinction between dedicated school transport and wider public transport:

  • by dedicated school transport, we mean services that are used only to carry pupils to school. This includes statutory home to school transport, but may also include some existing or new commercial travel routes, where they carry school pupils only
  • by wider public transport services, we mean routes which are also used by the general public.

Pupils on dedicated school transport services do not mix with the general public on those journeys and tend to be consistent. This means that the advice for these two types of transport are different. 

Schools have been issued with guidance from the county council regarding dedicated school services provided by Lancashire county council. Schools have been asked to share this information with parents/carers. 

Key points within the dedicated school transport guidance include:

  • Social distancing is not required on dedicated school transport.
  • It is now the law that children and young people aged 11 years and over must wear a face covering on wider public transport. This law does not apply to dedicated school transport. However, national government guidance states that local authorities recommend people aged 11 years and over to wear a face covering when travelling on dedicated school transport to secondary school or college from the start of the autumn term, understanding various exemptions. A clean face covering should be worn on each journey. Used face coverings should be stored appropriately in plastic bags until they can be washed. Alternatively non reusable face coverings should be disposed of appropriately as directed by the school.  This removal, storage/disposal should be complemented by the school's handwashing process on arrival.
  • It is not possible to transport students only within their school bubbles. However, government guidance states that having school bubbles will still bring benefits even if implemented partially, and that schools may need to allow mixing into wider groups in certain circumstances, including on transport. This is another reason that the county council recommends the use of face coverings. Students should try to sit in their bubbles as much as possible. If a school has requested an assigned seating plan they will share this with parents/carers.
  • When queuing for the bus, ideally students should maintain some social distancing where possible particularly if the bus is a shared service with another school to reduce risk. If queues become too long in unsafe areas then school staff/parents/operators should liaise with school bus services to see how this could be managed.
  • Students are advised to practise good hand hygiene before and after boarding the bus. Students may wish to travel with their own hand sanitiser as this may not be available on all services.
  • It is essential that pass/season ticket holders show their pass when boarding not only as proof of payment but also for test and trace purposes.
  • Fares will be taken on board for most dedicated school services. Exact change should be used to minimise cash handling. A summary of fares is set out below:
  Single Return
Journeys up to 3miles £1.60 £3.00
Journeys between 3-8 miles £2.30 £4.10
Journeys over 8 miles £2.80 £5.20
  • Schools have been asked to take a daily register of those students who pay their bus fare on board for test and trace purposes. Most schools will be taking a register so fares will be taken on their services. We are still working with schools to make sure these registers are taken. However if a school decides not to take a register then the services that serve that school will not be able to carry fare payers. Currently, the schools who have confirmed that they are not taking a register are listed below.
    • Brownedge St Marys RCHS, Bamber Bridge
      • 441 Mellor Brook - Walton le Dale and Brownedge St Marys RCHS
      • 776 Brindle Church - Walton Le Dale HS and Brownedge St Marys
    • Our Lady's Catholic College, Lancaster
      • 503 Priest Hutton - Lancaster Our Lady's RCHS - Ripley St Thomas CEHS
    • Pendle Vale College, Nelson
      • 942 Higherford Turning Circle - Colne Schools
      • 943 Fence - Higherford Turning Circle via Barley
      • 920 Padiham - Nelson and Colne College / Colne Schools via Higham

Students who attend the above named schools can only travel on these services if they are a pass holder. Those schools have been asked to advise their students, parents and carers if this is the case. The above list is subject to change and you should keep up to date with information on this page as well as information issued by the school.

  • Where dedicated school transport is shared with students attending different schools students should try to sit together based on the school that they are attending and abide by the other key principles outlined here. If possible children should also sit within their school bubble.
  • It is advised that there is no eating or drinking on board. 
  • Students should try to talk at low levels and refrain from shouting.
  • Students should be encouraged to carry tissues on home to school transport. The ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach is very important. Tissues will need to be disposed of in a covered bin. Schools will have a suitable disposal process on arrival, in line with their process for disposing of face coverings.
  • Standing is not permitted whilst the vehicle is in motion. Students should remain seated until they leave the vehicle.
  • Ideally let passengers leave the bus from the front first to reduce passenger contact.

Parents and carers are responsible for ensuring children understand how to use transport safely, and children themselves are responsible for acting upon this, where they are able to. It is extremely important that guidelines are followed to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission.  Operators have been asked to advise the county council of breaches of guidelines. Persistent breaches by a student may result in a refusal to carry them.

With regards to wider public transport services, the county council has been working with local bus operators to understand the requirements for additional capacity for public transport. Students that use public transport services should abide by national guidance and check with their operators' website for any more specific information. In some cases forecast demand on public transport may mean that the county council supplements these services with extra dedicated school bus services to increase capacity. Schools will be provided information about these services if this is the case and will then share that with parents/carers.

If you require any further information please contact the School Transport enquiry line on 0300 123 6738.