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Council delays decision to scrap free school bus passes


Free school bus passes for children in Nottinghamshire will continue for the time being.

A decision was made in 2016 to take away free bus travel for some children travelling to school.

The change was expected to come into effect from September this year.

PICTURED: County Hall

But now, the move has been delayed.

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By law, Nottinghamshire County Council has to provide bus travel for some children who live a certain distance from schools. But currently it provides bus travel for more than it has to.

Children aged eight and over are entitled to free transport to and from school if they live more than three miles away, while children under eight get free travel if they live two miles away.

However the council also provides help to the parents of 5,000 children who are not legally entitled to it. This costs the council around £4.5 million every year.

This will now continue until a review of bus transport throughout the county is published in the coming months.

The decision to take away some free bus travel was taken in 2016 when Labour ran the council, in an attempt to save money and bring the council in line with neighbouring authorities.

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But the move has been paused by the council, which is now led by the Conservatives.

Councillor Philip Owen represents the ward for the Conservatives, and said: “The last Labour administration decided that it wanted to end all non-statutory school transport.

“If a child lives a certain distance from a school then they are entitled to statutory support.

“But we as an authority over many years have gone beyond that, particularly in respect of the faith schools.

“Those schools tend to be much further away, and the parents and children have been offered a bus pass.

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“That is what the Labour group decided they wanted to end in 2016.

“When we took control last year we decided that we wanted to put a pause on that and review the consequences.”

A final decision is expected after a wider review of bus travel in the county is published in the coming months.

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