Free transport for post-16 pupils, but with an admin fee

A post-16 transport protest in Alnwick in 2014.  Picture by Jane Coltman
A post-16 transport protest in Alnwick in 2014. Picture by Jane Coltman

The proposed reintroduction of free transport for post-16 students is set to cost the council £1.4million next year.

County councillors are set to approve a consultation for proposed changes to the post-16 transport policy at the cabinet meeting next week.

Last week, we reported that the unpopular charges were to be axed after provision was made in the Tories’ proposed budget, enabling them to meet a manifesto promise.

Now, a report to next week’s meeting puts some flesh on the bone and reveals that while the council has allocated £1.4million in 2018-19 and £800,000 in 2019-20 to remove the £600-a-year charge, students will still be required to pay a £50 admin fee.

This is because ‘the council incurs significant time and resources when assessing applications to determine eligibility’ and it would help ‘to reduce the likelihood of the council incurring unnecessary transport costs for services which may only be used occasionally’.

If approved, as is likely, the consultation will run from Monday, February 19, to Friday, March 30, which would allow the new policy to be adopted in time for the start of the 2018/19 academic year in September.