Council urged to give Falkirk school pupils bus pass from more than one home

A proposal to give school pupils a bus pass from more than one home address has been rejected.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 4:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 4:29 pm

Upper Braes councillor James Kerr had asked for the current policy to be looked at, in a bid to help families where the parents no longer live together.

At the moment, school bus passes can be used on only one route and from one address - but Councillor Kerr said that was very expensive for some families and asked if arrangements could be made that would mean pupils could travel from either their mum or dad's house.

Falkirk Council's head of planning and resources, Gary Greenhorn, brought a report back to the Education, Children and Young People committee, which found all sorts of complications in the suggestion.

Picture Michael Gillen

He also warned members that any change would have a significant cost.

If pupils were to get an extra bus pass, the council would be charged the full annual cost for both of them and it could mean buses being provided and not running at capacity.

The situation would be further complicated for children getting taxis to school, saying this could disrupt routes that are carefully planned to minimise costs.

Mr Greenhorn said such a change would mean much more administration for school staff and communication difficulties could be significant.

He was also worried that it could also cause problems if parents lived in two different school catchment areas.

He said: "If this went ahead it would mean inefficiency and inefficiency means additional cost.

"This change would make the system clunky and clunky systems mean confusion and mistakes and that is not a good system to adopt.

"Some policies have to be black and white with no ambiguity and no flexibility - this is, unfortunately, one of those occasions."

However, Mr Greenhorn did point out, however, that the Scottish Government recently agreed to introduce free bus travel for all young people aged under 22.

Although there are no details as yet he was hopeful that this might help cut the costs of young people travelling to school.

Councillors of all parties, including Mr Kerr, accepted the report's conclusions.

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