Six week delay for school bus pass

Thursday September 5th 2019

Dalkeith School Campus

Written by Midlothian View Editor, Phil Bowen

Parents of Midlothian High school pupils, who have applied for a school bus place but are ‘not-entitled’ as they live within two miles, have received letters to tell them that they will not hear whether they have a place until the end of September, six weeks after the start of term.

So in the meantime the pupils have to make their own way to school, in some cases involving a four mile walk each day if their parents are unavailable to give them a lift.

Parents and pupils say this is causing unnecessary stress and inconvenience, as well as actually depriving the council of income from bus fares at a time when the council budget is in a dire state.

Midlothian View contacted the council to ask why there is a six-week delay in allocating places.

A Midlothian Council spokesperson said:

“The end of September date is to ensure that those entitled to transport are allocated a place as we always have late requests and also have to take into account children new to the area.

“These places are not guaranteed and are ‘non-entitled places’ offered only where there are spaces available on the bus.

“Any charge made for places will be £235 pro/rata to reflect the reduced number of days that the pass will be issued for.

“Unfortunately, as there is competition for the seats available, we have to ensure that there are seats available for entitled pupils who have not made application. Despite comments last year and this year, there are still parents or guardians of entitled pupils making application because they were not aware of being entitled, or who may have just moved into the area. If we did not take this action then pupils could have their seat allocation removed.

“The form for non-entitled travel specifically states that seats ‘may not be awarded / be considered until September or October’ and parents should be aware that they may have to make alternative arrangements for their child.”

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