Dedicated school transport
(updated August 2021)
Lancashire County Council is providing school bus services in line with the Covid-19 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. These services are predominately contracted by the county council but may also include some commercial travel routes which carry school pupils only.
- by wider public transport services, we mean routes which are also used by the general public.
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:
- Students must not board any home to school transport if they have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). A symptomatic person should self-isolate and book a PCR test as soon as possible. If a student develops symptoms whilst at school or their place of education, they will be sent home. They should avoid using public transport (dedicated and wider) and, wherever possible, be collected by a member of their family or household. In exceptional circumstances, if parents or carers cannot arrange to have their child collected, and it is age-appropriate and safe to do so, the child should walk, cycle or scoot home. If this is not possible, alternative arrangements may need to be organised by the school.
- Even though wearing face coverings is no longer a legal requirement on public transport the government expects and recommends that they are worn in enclosed and crowded spaces including on dedicated school transport for those 11 years and over. The county council would like to reiterate this and strongly advise that children and young people aged 11 and over should continue to wear a face covering when travelling to secondary school or college if they are able to do so.
- Please note that on wider public transport, which is privately owned and commercially operated, operators may make it a condition of carriage for passengers to wear face coverings if they are able to do so on their services and may refuse those who do not comply. If a student uses a wider public transport service they must follow the guidance for passengers set by government.
- It is not mandatory that bus drivers wear face coverings whilst working although the county council will make recommendations and the operators will take this into consideration when completing their risk assessment. The county council is actively encouraging school transport operators to engage in asymptomatic testing.
- Duplicate/additional dedicated school transport services that were put in place during the 2020/21 academic year are not expected to be in use for this new academic year. However, this position will be kept under review. If a local outbreak occurs, a school may need to action their contingency plans including temporarily reinstating a bubble system. At this stage additional services may be used to reduce mixing on transport wherever possible.
- 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.
- Students should be reminded that personal hygiene is very important. One of the key messages from Public Health England is that we should all be washing or sanitising our hands regularly.
- It is recommended that students travel with their own sanitising hand gel.
- 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 should have a suitable disposal process on arrival, in line with their process for disposing of face coverings.
- It is advised that there is no eating or drinking on board.
- Students should try to talk at low levels and refrain from shouting.
- Last academic year there were periods when schools were only open to children of key workers and at these times, no fares where taken on dedicated school services. From the start of this academic year, all students should be reminded that they will be required to show a valid pass/season ticket or pay their fare.
- It has always been imperative that students only use the service that is printed on their pass/season ticket and abide by the terms and conditions printed on the back of the pass.
- Students are encouraged to have the correct fare to minimise cash handling and also to help the driver. Please see below for fare prices.
|Journeys up to 3 miles||£1.60||£3.10|
|Journeys between 3-8 miles||£2.40||£4.20|
|Journeys over 8 miles||£2.90||£5.30|
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 important that these guidelines are followed to keep everyone safe. 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.