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Temporary vacant seat scheme

Vacant seat update – 15 December 2021

The Vacant Seat Scheme has permanently discontinued.

Following a 6 week listening exercise which closed on 12 October 2021, the council members have reached a decision to permanently discontinue the vacant seat scheme for pupil not entitled to free home to school transport. During this exercise no legal or fair solution has been presented that could be applied evenly across the county. 

The cabinet report and the outcome of the engagement exercise can be viewed here: Agenda for Cabinet on Wednesday 15th December 2021, 10:00am - Staffordshire County Council or you can listen to the webcast.

This decision does not affect those pupils who are entitled to free home to school transport, and it does not affect pupils ages 16 and over who are eligible to transport to school and colleges under the council’s post 16 scheme. Post-16 transport - Staffordshire County Council

Wherever possible the county council support existing bus services by allocating children entitled to free home to school transport on those services, and that also can provide a transport option for pupils not entitled to free transport. During recent years the council has worked closely with operators to amend existing commercial bus routes and County Council supported routes where it can be done so they link villages and suburbs with schools. 

The council will use feedback from the six-week engagement exercise to compare demand with existing routes, and where possible we will work with operators to adapt services to help children not entitled to free transport to get to school.

Please do not call the transport staff regarding the vacant seat scheme as they are unable to provide any further information at this time following the cabinet decision.

The Council agree to review and consider reinstating the temporary vacant seat scheme once the availability of Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) compliant coaches significantly improves in the Staffordshire coach market.

If a child is not eligible for free home to school transport, it is the parents’ or carers’ legal responsibility to make travel arrangements for their child/ren and ensure they attend school. 

Local Transport Options

It may be possible for your journey to be made on the local bus network. For up to date information on services operating and timetables please see Plan-your-journey or  Network West Midlands - Plan my journey (tfwm.org.uk), Google Maps and select the public transport option and for school transport timetables School transport timetables - Staffordshire County Council

Alternative travel options that you may wish to consider can be found here Other Options for Travel into School

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