School transport consultation draws to a close

A CONSULTATION which could affect hundreds of Royston school children draws to a close at the end of this month, as authorities say they “simply cannot afford” to maintain current spending.

Opinions on changes to school transport have been gathered by Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) since October, since it was announced that the �25 million annual school transport bill was to be reduced.

The changes would affect pupils who currently benefit from free or subsidised school transport, including children who travel out of Royston to schools such as the Fremen College in Buntingford.

Richard Thake, HCC executive member for education and skills, said: “For many years your county council has gone above and beyond its legal duty by providing transport on a discretionary basis, to many pupils.

“In the current financial situation, we simply cannot afford to maintain this approach. This consultation is also the opportunity for us to encourage local communities and schools to design their own self-financing local travel solutions for their pupils.”

Proposals include adopting a policy for free transport based solely on statutory entitlement, and that existing concessions for faith transport and discretionary transport would discontinue. These changes would take effect in September 2012.

In September, The Crow revealed how several pupils were regularly left behind in Royston as the bus going to Fremen College was full.

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To register your opinion, visit, while children can have a say at Paper copies of the response form are available at local libraries or by calling 01438 737350. The consultation ends on January 26, after which HCC will consider proposals before a decision is made in March.