School transport service update

Runnymede Borough Council

Councillors remain committed to the principle of a new permanent school transport service in Runnymede, if money can be found in the authority's budgets to provide one.

However, launching a short term temporary service in time for the new school term in early September will not be possible, the borough's secondary schools have been told.

In a letter this week, a senior council officer updated head teachers on the Council's commitment to do everything it could to try to put in place a reliable temporary transport service.

The letter said: "We have been working on solutions for as long as possible to re-launch our discretionary service, but as term is due to start in a week, with great regret, we are not in a position to be able to provide an interim solution for September. 

"We know for any service to work, schools and parents would need consistency in the times and routes of the buses and how to make a booking and payment.

"Unfortunately, a lack of available extra resources, and existing commitments within the current transport service which are coming back on-line as the Coronavirus restrictions ease, means we do not have the capacity to guarantee this provision on a temporary basis."

The letter explained that councillors supported the principle of a permanent service, if money can be found in the Council's budgets to provide one. It is currently proposed  that a final decision is voted on by all councillors at the end of September.

The Council apologised to heads and parents for not being able to provide a short-term arrangement, as staff realise it will be frustrating to teachers and parents.

The letter also highlighted that while Runnymede's local service is discretionary, Surrey County Council has a legal responsibility for transporting children to and from school who meet its criteria. While this might not help all users of the old service, the letter said, it may be an option for some.