Bucks County Council School Transport Consultation

Bucks CC have today announced a consultation on the future of School Bus Services within the County. One of the 3 proposals on the table for discussion directly affects the Ivinghoe Division, including Ivinghoe, Ivinghoe Aston, Pitstone, Cheddington and Edlesborough.

All parents are strongly advised to complete the online survey at the following web address

https://democracy.buckscc.gov.uk/mgConsultationDisplay.aspx?ID=8420

There are some background documents available as follows

  1. Page 5 of this document explains the ‘Ivinghoe Promise’ and the effect of its removal, https://democracy.buckscc.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=123660
  2. Further background information is also available at
    https://democracy.buckscc.gov.uk/mgConsultationDisplay.aspx?ID=8420

There was a series of public meetings and drop in events about this, the nearest was being held at Cheddington School, High St., Cheddington – Thursday 8th November 2018 at 7pm.

Subsequent update (20/11/18):

In Pitstone, the national statutory guidelines continue to apply, ie the child would qualify for free school transport to the NEAREST secondary school (ie Tring) if that school was more than 3 miles away/unsafe walking route.  If parents elect to send their child to an alternative school, they do not qualify for free transport.  If the nearest school does not have capacity to offer the child a place, the child will qualify for free transport to the second nearest eligible school (ie Cottesloe).

BCC are also consulting on the possibility of utilising public transport for some routes, rather than dedicated school buses.  Many Pitstone children attending the Aylesbury schools already utilise public transport, as this tends to be cheaper than purchasing a ‘paid for’ place on the school buses.  A number of residents have raised queries regarding this element of the consultation and Anne Wight, County Councillor, has clarified:

“What was stated at the meeting was that, where possible, if there was a duplication of public bus service alongside school bus service (e.g.  Wing to Aylesbury has a good public service) we would be looking to move kids on to the public bus service if those services were running at appropriate times and where we could sensibly do so.  Those would be on existing services primarily, although there has been some discussion of possibly expanding routes and/or tendering for new services to cover areas of the county which have patchy bus service (e.g. rural areas like Cheddington where services have been severely cut).

The issue was raised at the recent parents meeting of there being no current existing public bus service on certain routes such as Cheddington, for example, which run at suitable times for the school run.  In those cases it is my understanding that the current county-provided school bus routes may be retained OR that public bus companies might be encouraged to tender to provide service on those routes, given that if we add the school children cohort on to the existing public unmet demand there might then be sufficient demand to bring back some of the discontinued routes and timetables.

Unfortunately, it is very much all up for discussion still as to what way forward they will be heading.  If the county currently has a statutory obligation to provide transport, I believe that will still happen but only to the nearest eligible school (I believe that means that if Tring is the first choice but has no places, and Cottesloe is the second choice but has places, then some form of transport to Cottesloe would be provided for eligible children).  Whether that ends up being a public bus service or a private bus service remains to be seen.   Any changes to transport will be phased to minimise impact, and we will ensure that residents are given plenty of notice.
Do please also encourage everyone to check out the “FAQ” section which has been recently added to the consultation pages.”