Below you will find key messaging on both project work and general updates relating to travel assistance. We aim to update these items as often as possible with important information.
Review of unsafe travel routes
We are currently reviewing a number of routes across the County that are deemed unsafe. This involves reassessing eligibility for travel assistance in some circumstances, if there are any changes to route safety, we will write to all families affected. Any review of an unsafe route will be undertaken in line with National Road Safety Guidance - Assessments of Walked Routes to School (2021).
Applications submitted during the academic year
We will assess your application and provide travel assistance (if eligible) within 30 working days of the request being submitted.
Would you like to receive an Independent Travel Allowance?
This allows you to make your own transport arrangements for your child to get to school or college. We now pay 45p per mile for 4 journeys on each school day required.
If your child is eligible for travel assistance and you would like to receive the allowance, please contact the team using our online enquiry form.
Please visit our FAQ page for further information.
Post-16 travel assistance
This year, we contacted around 500 families regarding their current travel arrangements. We spoke to families about the benefits of the Independent Travel Allowance and to hear their perspectives on their current travel entitlement.
Where the Council assesses a young person aged 16 to 19 years as eligible for travel assistance under its policy, the assistance offered in the first instance will be in the form of a travel allowance to support families and young people to make their own arrangements, unless due to specific needs or a requirement for specialist transport means this is not appropriate.
As per the Council's Travel Assistance Policy for learners aged 16 to 25, shared transport arrangements will be put in place wherever possible if the allowance is not appropriate. You are reminded that free transport is provided on a discretionary basis and is available at the beginning and end of the school/college day only, and individual timetables are not able to be met. Therefore, students should expect some waiting time.
Post-16 contribution rates 2023 to 2024
Where it is agreed that travel assistance is required in the form of a taxi or minibus, we will ask you or your parent/carer to contribute towards the transport costs. However, if you or your family experience severe financial hardship, we will consider delaying, reducing, or waiving the charge for post-16 students.
We have increased the contribution this year at a time of real challenge for public finances, when we are all facing increased costs and recognise the hardship that families are experiencing. The new contribution rates for 2023 to 2024, while an increase on last year, are still lower than our neighbouring authorities.
Our new post-16 travel allowance has been in place since 2022 and if you choose to accept this, you will not be required to pay the contribution.
The contribution rates for the academic year 2023 to 2024 are as follows:
- £634.89 for students whose families are in receipt of the maximum Working Tax Credit and/or who continue to meet the eligibility criteria for Free School Meals; students in care; care leavers; those on Income Support/Universal Credit in their own right; disabled young people who receive Employment Support Allowance/Universal Credit and either Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment in their name; or
- £875.58 for all other students.
Potential changes to current arrangements
For existing passengers who access their education settings via contracted transport, wherever possible, transport will be the same or similar. There will be occasions where we will need to change a service, or where arrangements may change. Reasons why we are required to change a service, and what could change include:
- More children and young people being awarded transport to a specific education setting and are added to a specific vehicle/route.
- The operator of a current route changes.
- The type of vehicle.
- A journey time is increased owing to more children in a vehicle.
- The home pick-up and drop-off times.
For new applicants, and those where the travel arrangements are changing, you will be informed of the arrangements as soon as possible to make any necessary preparations. In all cases, we will aim to ensure that information is provided two weeks before the start of transport.
Home to school transport in Surrey
The video below, from colleagues in the Surrey School Travel and Assessment Team, is a useful introduction to school travel assistance. We encourage you to watch if you want to find out more about:
- Eligibility for travel assistance.
- Our busiest times during applications and appeals.
- Types of travel assistance that may be provided to eligible children and young people.
- The other forms of travel support that are available (including independent travel training provided by Surrey Choices).
- Safeguarding information relating to transport operators.
- How to contact us.