250 school buses take around 12,000 pupils who are entitled to free transport, to and from school every day – this costs £9.5m each year.
The Council has a statutory duty to provide free transport for:
- pupils under the age of 8 who live more than two miles from their catchment area school
- pupils 8 and over who live more than three miles from their catchment area school
But in Fife we go that extra mile and provide free transport to pupils who live within the school catchment area and are more one mile away from their primary school or two miles from their secondary school.
Another 2,400 pupils, who aren’t entitled to free travel, pay a fare to use any spare space on subsidised school buses or local bus services – this still costs the council £1.2m a year.
In addition, we spend £5m a year on taxis and minibuses to provide school transport for about 1,000 pupils who:
- live in areas without a school bus
- have additional support needs or a medical condition that requires specialist transport
- are looked after by the council, for example in residential care Accommodated
We also use people carriers and contracted taxis and minibuses to transport some children between their school and the nearest out-of-school club.
In total, all these journeys to and from school cost the council some £16 million a year.