Call for additional funding and dialogue with government


The Urban Transport Group has warned that additional funding will be required to support getting pupils to school safely when schools reopen in September.

UTG says that in normal circumstances public transport plays a key role in enabling access to education at schools and colleges. However, the Covid-19 crisis has led to the capacity of public transport to be heavily constrained which creates formidable operational and financial challenges for transport authorities as schools begin to return and, eventually, colleges.

As a result it has called on the government to lead joined-up dialogue between the education and transport sectors on how best to resolve the operational challenges and to meet the full additional transport costs of the return to schools and colleges.

“A significant number of trips to and from school are made by bus,” said Stephen Edwards, UTG’s chair and executive director of South Yorkshire PTE. “Capacity on our networks is already highly constrained due to social distancing which will make it extremely challenging for transport authorities to ensure that every pupil can safely get to school when they return in September.”

He added that these challenges are made worse by the lack of funding certainty for bus services when the current additional COVID-19 support expires at the start of August.

Edwards continued: “To ensure schools can safely return in September we need a collaborative process between DfT, DfE and transport authorities in order to ensure that there is a joined up plan that gets children back to school and is backed up by the funding necessary to support the extra public transport capacity that will be needed.”

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