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School transport plans for Cornwall confirmed ahead of new term in September

Cornwall Council is reassuring parents, carers and students that we’re working closely with schools and transport providers to make sure that arrangements are in place for students travelling to and from schools when they reopen in September.

The Council will continue to provide transport for eligible students to and from school and in post-16 education through dedicated student-only school buses, taxis/minibuses and other forms of transport including public bus services.

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Some of the Transport for Cornwall peak time public bus services that have previously been available for anyone to travel on, are being reserved for students only to travel to school.

84 of these public bus journeys (normally one in the morning and one in the afternoon) out of over 1,400 bus journeys supported by the Council will change from being open to all passengers, to being reserved for students to travel to school.  The remaining 94% of journeys on the normal network will be unaffected and fully operational. 

Bus passengers are advised to check and plan their travel in advance - read the full list of affected bus journeys

An additional 25 buses are being provided to duplicate some journeys where it is known that a large number of students would normally travel which means there will be two buses making the same journey, with one being exclusively for the use of students travelling to school.

The Department for Education (DfE) has allocated additional funding to the Council for school transport.  Some of that will be used to provide the additional 25 buses on peak time services.

Cornwall Council cabinet member for transport Geoff Brown said: “We’re asking the public to help by not travelling at peak times if possible, and to check before they set off that the bus journey they intend to travel on has not been changed to student use only. We realise that this may cause issues for a small number of passengers who perhaps use that bus to get to work so we’re urging employers to be understanding of the situation.  Any member of the public affected by a bus journey that has been changed to student use only should contact the transport team who will try to assist wherever possible with essential journeys.”

We are asking parents and carers where possible to not drive children to school but instead encourage their children to walk, scoot or cycle, particularly for those shorter journeys, which will ease traffic congestion, improve air quality and reduce our carbon footprint.    

We know this is not possible for everyone so if using the car is essential, we are asking people to drop off older children a short walk from school to reduce traffic congestion at the school gates and enable them to get some exercise before school starts.  Some schools have dedicated Park and Stride sites where parents/ carers leave their car in a pre-arranged location and walk the remaining distance to school with younger children.

Geoff Brown says: “With our partner Sustrans, we’re offering advice and practical support to schools who want to adopt or expand their Active Travel plans to encourage students to walk, cycle, scoot or ‘park and stride’ to school if they can.  Please consider this option if you live a short distance (2 miles or less) from your school or further education college.”

“This will also help to reduce pressure on the public transport network and the Truro Park and Ride service for those who need it most.”

Geoff Brown adds: “We all have a part to play in making sure that everyone understands and abides by the government guidance around social distancing.  The most important things are that we plan ahead, all wash our hands thoroughly and regularly, wear face coverings on public transport whilst following the two metre distancing rule or, if that is not possible, the ‘one metre plus’ approach, as outlined by the Government.”

“Schools have put pupils into ‘bubbles’ and we’ll be asking students to use the same system to help maintain social distancing from other passengers on public transport when students travel to and from school.” 

For further information on transport arrangements, please telephone 0300 1234 222 or email transport@cornwall.gov.uk. 

Find out more about school transport in Cornwall 

The main points are:   

  • Plan your journey 
  • The wearing of face coverings is compulsory on public transport, however face coverings may not be appropriate for all.  Some people with medical needs and children under the age of 11 are exempt.
  • Passengers must try to maintain social distancing from other passengers not in their school ‘bubble’ at two metres or with a ‘one metre plus’ approach, as outlined by the Government, where this is not possible.
  • Transport providers will ensure vehicles are thoroughly cleaned daily with additional cleaning taking place before and after each school journey. 
  • Everyone should wash their hands before and after each journey.  Passengers are also advised to carry their own supply of hand sanitizer and tissues. Hand sanitizer will also be available on dedicated school vehicles.