How to buy a Kent County Council Travel Saver pass for school bus travel from September 2020
Parents in Kent are being encouraged to avoid public transport and make alternative arrangements to get their children to secondary school in September.
The advice has come from Kent County Council, which has now opened applications for Travel Saver bus passes ahead of the new term.
The authority, which says parents can save up to 50% on the cost of travel to and from school with a pass, is urging families to think hard about whether they can get their children to the classroom via other means before making an application for the £360 year-long permit.
A message on its website says: "Current government advice is to avoid public transport, so we are urging parents to use alternative transport where possible. If children live close to the school they should walk or cycle, for those that live further away they should consider getting a lift."
Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield says she has already been contacted by parents worried about juggling the school run with work and is calling on transport chiefs to explain to parents how school transport services will run if students can only travel on buses with the same children they are in a class or year group 'bubble' with.
Families who had a Travel Saver pass for the previous school year have been able to claim a small refund to reflect the spring and summer months the passes weren't used when schools closed back in March because of the coronavirus outbreak.
But KCC has already warned parents that refunds for the upcoming school year will not be available and it will be down to parents to decide whether they want to risk the purchase of a pass or make alternative arrangements.
The council, which says it appreciates that this could be a 'difficult decision to make now' is asking parents to consider whether their children's school start and finish times, which may now be more staggered, and current social distancing guidelines will affect the way in which holders can use a pass and, if it's likely to be used less frequently, whether bus tickets from operators might be a better option.
But anyone wanting their child to have a pass ready for the start of the September term will need to think quickly as applications must be received by August 9.
To apply potential pupils must live in Kent and be in school years seven to 11.
If government guidelines change and there are less restrictions on bus travel the authority says it will consider making a 'part-year' pass available with a cost that reflects the shorter time it would be used for.
To learn more about this year's KCC Travel Saver pass please click here.