A new School Transport Bill will abolish the automatic right to
free school transport for children living more than three miles
from their school, making help with transport means-tested instead
The bill will also encourage local education authorities to
develop alternatives to the school-run, with a promise of
“pump-priming” grants of £200,000 for up to 20 schemes that
can find greener and healthier ways for children to travel to
school than by car.
These could include “walking buses”, where children walk to
school with adult volunteers, collecting more children along the
route; more and bigger school buses fitted with CCTV, plus extra
buses for out-of-school activities; more cycle routes to schools
and secure bike sheds, and staggered school starting times in some
areas to cut traffic on the road.
Schools minister Stephen Twigg said: “Twice as many children are
driven to school now than 20 years ago, and most of these journeys
are less than two miles.”
New research by the DfES has found that more parents on lower
incomes have to pay for their children to travel to school than the
better off. Most children who get the bus pay more than £7 a
“The present system is unfair because it is based on the
distance pupils live from school and not parents’ ability to
pay,” said Twigg.
Schools would be allowed to charge parents for the new