South Yorkshire will receive part of a £40 million Government support package to provide transport for students returning to school or college in September.
South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) Executive Director, Stephen Edwards, welcomed the announcement, which will help provide pupils with dedicated travel options, to create extra public transport capacity, while social distancing measures remain in place.
“Our priority is ensuring that every child can get to school safely in September. That’s why we are actively working with the Department for Transport, transport providers, schools and education authorities in preparation for the new academic year. We know significant extra dedicated school bus and coach services, and additional local buses, will be essential to ease pressure on South Yorkshire’s public transport network. The Government’s funding package is a welcome support towards providing these services.
“However, it is the tip of the iceberg for this complex and challenging task. To allow us to plan and provide the safe public and school transport network that our city region needs, we will need clarity from Government, around specification and social distancing for new school services. As well as a commitment to a further settlement beyond the autumn term.
“We want pupils to be confident that they can get to school by bus, coach or public transport safely. We do not want to see a shift to the car for the school run, and increased congestion and road safety risks as a result. While public transport will continue to be different while social distancing measures remain in place, we can all play our part to travel smart, to keep ourselves and others safe. We’re asking parents, pupils and staff members to plan ahead, to think about how they might make their journeys next month, and to check whether it’s possible to walk, scoot or cycle instead.”
The Education Secretary’s announcement (on 8 August 2020) will provide local transport authorities with an allocation of funding for the autumn term, to reflect the number of children and young people in the local area and how far they have to travel. This includes students travelling to education or training, as well as anyone supervising or escorting students to education provision.
It follows a £2 billion Government investment to increase active travel and further funding for the bus and light rail sectors to help increase services. For those that have no other option than public transport, it means more students will be able to travel on dedicated home to school and college transport, creating more capacity on the network.
Coronavirus travel information and advice, public transport updates and timetables are available at travelsouthyorkshire.com/coronavirus