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School Buses and how they are funded?

5 months ago Fri 24th May 2019

School Buses and how they are funded?


There are a number of types of school buses, and all are funded differently.  Here are some examples below:-


  • School bus to Brockenhurst or Kingston Maurward College – private arrangement with the College and they set the fees.  Currently £1050 per year.


  • Bus route funded by the school, for example Highcliffe School offer three of these routes from the New Forest and the school set the prices.


  • School bus for entitled children running between Sturminster Newton and Lockyers School.  This is contract that we do for Dorset Council.  They pay us the entire amount required to operate the service.  The Council issue passes to the students and they travel free.  ‘entitled’ students mean that they need to travel more than 3 miles to their allocated school.  If the choice of school is parental choice this does not count.


  • Private school bus arrangements led by parents – a couple of these arrangements are in place.  One from Verwood to Poole & Parkstone Grammar, and 3 routes from the New Forest to Bournemouth School for Girls.  Parents pay the organiser who has the contract with the bus company


  • Local school bus tender – there few of these around, in our area these mainly concern Poole & Parkstone Grammar.  They are tendered by BCP and Morebus run the majority of them.  The Council charges £670 per year for a pass, but this increasing to £725 over the next 3 years.


  • Commercial arrangement with the bus company, the majority of the routes that we operate work in this way.  These routes include 46, 60, 81, 85, 86, 87, 88 and 111.  We operate these services without financial support and hope that we generate enough students to cover the cost of operation.  The cost of running these buses is approximately £50,000 per year.  We offer 70 seats and therefore the cost £714 per year.


The current pricing structure for students travelling on school buses operated on a commercial basis without financial support is as follows.


  • School Bus Day ticket is £4.30
  • School Bus 7 Day ticket is £18
  • School Bus 30 Day ticket is £54
  • School Bus 90 Day ticket is £155


As we have just stated above the true cost of a seat for a year on one of these bus is £714.  In theory customers can purchase 10 x 30 Day tickets and cover the entire school year and therefore they would only be paying £540.  This is someway short of the revenue that we need to continue operating the service.  This would generate roughly £38,000 and would be operating at a loss.  As a result as from Monday 3rd June 2019 this fare will increase to £59 moving closer to the target price.  Only the next few years these fares will continue to move upwards until we are able to generate enough revenue for the service to be financially sustainable.



As a parent what can I do to change this?


It we were to receive a financial contribution from the school or from the council for operating the service we can reduce the price that we are charging.  In order for the route to be financially sustainable we have to cover the cost of operation and therefore generate £50,000 per year.  Over the years this number may increase as the cost of fuel changes, or labour or congestion worsens.


In order to get the school or council to make a financial contribution you will need to discuss this with your local councillor or the school themselves.  In terms of senior schools, the school get a financial contribution from Government for each child they have on the role, the more they have the more money they generate, so in some cases it is beneficial for them to attract new students to the school by offering a school service.



I only want the pass for school days, can I have it cheaper?


The prices that we charge represent the cost for school days, we add weekends evening and school holidays for free.  We feel that it adds better value helps with the development of the social awareness of young people and offers more flexibility for 6th formers.



Why can I only buy it on the bus and from the Travel Shop?


We have also now made the school bus tickets available on the app (show link).  This may not be suitable for some families and that is why we make it available from the Travel Shop and on the bus.

Please remember that if you have bought the tickets at the current price they are still valid.



We do realise that in some cases the cost of travel is very expensive.  We feel that the rate of £714 per year travelling on a commercial school bus with free travel at other times is about correct compared to other institutions and operators.  If you have any further questions about how school buses work please email [email protected] and we will try to answer your query.


Thank you.


Simon Newport

Head of Commercial

Yellow Buses

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