Applying for transport
To apply for transport you will need to complete the appropriate application form for your child's age. Transport application forms are available from schools within Wiltshire, or you can download them below:
- 2023-24 Under 16 School Transport Application Form (PDF) [360KB] (opens new window)
- 2023-24 Over 16 school transport application form (PDF) [419KB] (opens new window)
Education transport policy (OpenDocument text format) [201KB] (opens new window)
Post-16 Transport Policy Statement 2022 – 2023 (OpenDocument text format) [86KB] (opens new window)
Frequently asked questions
If you require transport to start in the Autumn term, return your completed form to the passenger transport unit before 30 June. Any application submitted after this will take up to 3 weeks to become effective.
Once you have received your bus pass you only need to reapply if you move house, change schools or start college or sixth form.
Once your application is processed and approved, you will receive a confirmation letter from the passenger transport unit.
The transport arrangements will then be made and the bus/rail pass(es) will be sent to your home before the start of term. If you are unsure of the transport arrangements for the first day, contact us on 01225 713 365.
Contact the education transport team on 01225 713 365 if you have a change of details such as:
- Change of address
- Change of school or college part-way through your course
The entitlement team will re-assess your application and will write to you as soon as possible after you have informed them of the change.
The passenger transport unit arranges free or assisted transport for school children who live in Wiltshire, years 0 (reception) to year 11 (GCSE exam year). You will need to apply for transport for your child at the start of their schooling. You will also need to apply when your child changes school or home address. Otherwise, a repeat pass will be sent to you for the start of each academic year.
If travelling by taxi you will be notified of the arrangements before the start of term.
How and when to apply
Applications should be received by 1 June for transport requested for the start of the Autumn term. It may take up to 3 weeks for the application to be processed.
All applications from Wiltshire residents are assessed fairly and equitably according to Wiltshire Council's education transport policy, to see if they are entitled to help with transport to school. The policy is available from email@example.com or telephone 0300 456 0100 to request a copy.
The passenger transport unit of Wiltshire Council co-ordinates travel arrangements to schools and colleges as well as for other clients, and we reserve the right to decide on the most effective and economical transport to be provided. Usually this is on vehicles contracted to us although sometimes we issue season tickets to travel on public transport services, or by taxi.
We'll process your application as quickly as possible although travel passes are not sent out until just before the start of the academic year.
If your application has to be refused, we will let you know the reasons why, in writing, and suggest other options if possible although it will be your responsibility to find a solution.
It is important that your child does not travel without a travel pass or written notification from us.
Bus passes and pick up points
Usually, the travel passes we issue for buses have to be used on a specific service from a specific pick-up point at a time detailed on the information sent with the travel pass.
Details of the bus to which your child has been allocated, including departure time and pick up point will be sent to you with your bus pass.
A bus pass for the start of a new academic year will be sent out to your home address in the weeks before the start of term. If applying at any other time of year a travel pass will be sent out within 10 days of your application being approved.
It will be your responsibility to make sure that your child is at the pick-up point at least 5 minutes before the bus is due.
To avoid overloading, bus passes must be shown to the driver - travel may be refused without a valid pass.
Remember that the travel pass is the property of Wiltshire Council and must be returned to us if we request it.
Extra benefits for families on low income
The education and inspections act 2006 gives additional transport assistance to families in receipt of free school meals or the maximum level of working tax credit.
Primary school children aged 8-11 may receive transport to their nearest school if this is 2 miles or more away.
Secondary school children aged 11-16 may receive transport to any of the three nearest qualifying schools to their address providing the school is at least two miles and no more than six miles from home.
You must send us the documentary evidence requested and complete the application form. Documentary proof can be provided in any one of these ways:
- Free school meals - send in your letter of confirmation to entitlement.
- Working tax credit - this is only if you are on the maximum level, which varies according to numerous factors. Send in a current full copy of your tax credit award notice (TCAN) so that we can check this for you. Alternatively scan all the pages of your document and email firstname.lastname@example.org with your child's name and address in the email.
Note that these rights are in addition to the statutory rights for all children of entitlement to free school transport. For further details see the full Wiltshire Council education transport policy available from email@example.com or telephone 0300 456 0100 to request a copy.
Denominational school transport
Contact your secondary school or college for further information regarding any transport arrangements they may have, in the first instance.
If your child is attending a school for faith reasons and they are in receipt of free school meals or you are in receipt of the maximum level of working tax credit then the council may be able to help with school transport.
If your parish priest supports your application the qualifying distance to the designated faith secondary school would be between 2 miles and 15 miles.
Send in evidence of your income, as described in the "extra benefits for families on a low income" section above, and also attach a note with the name and address of your parish priest.
Where spare seats exist on school bus or taxi contracts arranged by Wiltshire Council, they can sometimes be made available to pupils who would not be entitled to free transport to that school.
Any offer of a spare seat is subject to the Spare Seats Scheme Terms and Conditions.Follow this link, contact 0300 456 0100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy.
Transport to Bishop Wordsworth's Grammar School or South Wilts Grammar School in Salisbury
If your child is in the designated transport catchment area for the above schools and is a new starter at the school and the above low income details do not apply to you then the fee for transport for the academic year will be £990.
This can be paid by cheque, credit card or by direct debit over 7 instalments from August 2021 to February 2022.
Payment details will be sent to you upon receipt and approval of your application form
Free transport can be offered in a very few cases where the grammar school is the nearest secondary school to your address.
Email email@example.com before sending your application if you think you may qualify for a free pass on this basis.
Alternatively, you can check on Traveline South West for details of public buses and contact the appropriate bus company during the summer, about purchasing a bus pass directly from them which may be cheaper.
Do you need help with transport?
Are you starting at sixth form or college in September or are you already in full time further education and continuing your course for another year?
Apply now for a travel pass from Wiltshire Council - £850 a year or £300 if your gross household income is less than £20,819 for the year 2021-22.
The travel pass is a reduced-rate pass to travel from home to school or college if you are a Wiltshire resident. Transport will be provided on any day when the school / college is open for normal lectures but Wiltshire Council reserves the right to select the most appropriate/economical mode of transport.
We need the information requested in the application form so that we can assess your application to see if you are eligible for a post-16 travel pass. We will write back to let you know if we can help you under this scheme and to give further details about your application, and how to make payment.
You should apply for transport as soon as possible, even if you are unsure where you are going to study.
If you are not sure where you will be studying in September, it is to your advantage to submit a transport application by 30 June for the course which you are most likely to study.
If your plans change, contact us immediately and we can transfer your details over to your new location and issue a pass if you are entitled. If a pass is no longer required, you will get a full refund of any money paid if we are informed before 1 September. If you apply after the 30 June your pass may not reach you before the start of term.
As the standard charge for this scheme has increased significantly in recent years, season tickets available direct from bus companies may be cheaper, particularly for the Salisbury and Swindon areas.
All applications from Wiltshire residents are assessed according to Wiltshire Council's education transport policy. For further information on the policy, refer to the additional information in the post 16 transport policy statement. Both documents are available from firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0300 456 0100 to request copies.
Reasons not to apply for transport
Do not complete the application form if you are:
- Living within the boundary of Swindon borough
- Studying part time
- On a government training scheme
- Sponsored by your employer
- Aged 19 or more at the start of term in the first year of your course
- Requiring door-to-door transport for special needs, there is a different form for this - telephone 01225 757 943
- Studying for a higher award, NVQ4/HND
How do I qualify for a reduced rate?
You can apply for this offer of reduced rate travel if:
- You are aged at least 16 but less than 19 on the first day of the first year of your course of study, and you
- Live three miles or more from, and
- Attend your designated sixth form or college.
Refer to the Post 16 transport policy statement if you want to go to a non-designated sixth form/college, available from email@example.com or telephone 0300 456 0100 to request a copy.
Is the council's transport scheme the most cost effective option for all sixth form and college travel?
- Not in all cases. As the standard charge has increased significantly in recent years, a number of bus companies are now offering season tickets at comparable or cheaper rates.
- Contact your local bus company for more details of what they may have to offer.
- If you are unsure as to which bus company to contact, telephone passenger transport on 01225 713 365.
How much will a travel pass cost?
- The Wiltshire Council travel pass is available at a cost of £850 a year.
- It may be possible to pay this over seven months (1 x £124 and 6 x £121) providing you apply before 30 June 2022.
- Payment can be made in full by cheque or debit/credit card.
Can I apply for a lower rate pass?
If your tax credit award notice (TCAN) for the year states your gross income was less than £20,819 for the previous year you can apply for a lower rate pass at a cost of £300.
It may be possible to pay this over seven months (1 x £48 and 6 x £42) providing you apply before 30 June 2022.
Payments need to be completed by February 2023.
Where is my designated sixth form or college?
All parish areas in Wiltshire are allocated a designated sixth form and college.
Further details of the designated area for your address can be found in the download section at the bottom of this page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your home address, including postcode.
How will I get my pass?
Assuming you apply for transport by 30 June 2022, submit all the evidence requested and make payment in time, a travel pass will be sent to your home address before your first day at sixth form or college (not including induction days). Occasionally it may be necessary to sign for the pass as some are sent by recorded delivery.
What happens if I don't start my course?
If you do not start your course:
- Ensure you telephone the passenger transport unit on or before the first day of term to cancel your request.
- Any money that you have already paid towards your bus pass will be refunded on receipt of a returned pass, in the event this has been delivered.
What if I no longer need my pass?
If you no longer need your pass:
- Return your pass to us with a note stating that it is no longer required.
- Passenger transport will calculate any refund due based on the date of receipt in the office.
- No refund will be made without the pass being returned and no refunds will be made for passes returned and received after April.
- For more details about the council's refund arrangements for post-16 transport or to find out how much you might receive email email@example.com.
What if I apply after 30 June?
If you apply after 30 June, you may not be able to spread your payments over seven months.
Passenger transport will endeavour to process your application and issue a pass for the beginning of term, however this may not always be possible.
Allow three weeks for your application to be processed.
Do I need to send in a photograph?
If you live in Royal Wootton Bassett, Purton, Cricklade or Lydiard Millicent areas and are studying at an establishment in Swindon, send in a passport photograph with your name written clearly on the back.
Students travelling by train will need to add a passport size photo to the rail pass wallet when it is received in the post.
For all other locations, a photograph is not required.
If your child is not entitled to free school transport, you may be able to pay for a seat on the school bus.
Spare seats may be allocated at a charge to students not entitled to free transport. The offer of a spare seat is made on the understanding that payment must be made in advance and that any seat allocated will have to be relinquished if:
- The seat is required for an entitled pupil, or one with a higher priority.
- The service is withdrawn when the transport requirements in the area are reviewed.
Be aware that a spare seat allocation may be removed at very short notice.
Spare seats cannot be offered on vehicles where fares can be paid.
Refer to the Spare Seats scheme teams and conditions for more information, and contact education transport to apply.
Costs - this is dependent on age of pupil and distance as follows:
|School||Distance from home to school||Charge per term (based on a three term year)|
|Primary||less than 3 miles||£130|
|Primary||3 miles or more||£185|
|Secondary||less than 3 miles||£172|
|Secondary||3 miles or more||£213|
|Post-16 (sixth form/college)||less than 3 miles||£253|
|Post-16 (sixth form/college)||3 miles or more||£356|
Wiltshire Council take the safety of children using our school transport very seriously and all children are required to adhere to the following code of behaviour whilst travelling:
- Remain seated throughout the journey
- Wear the seatbelt (if there is one fitted)
- Not to block the gangway or throw items around the vehicle
- No smoking, eating or drinking can be allowed on the journey
- The controls of the vehicle and the safety equipment on it (emergency doors/hammers etc) must never be interfered with
- Always leave the vehicle clean and tidy
- Treat the driver and other passengers with respect
Bullying, vandalism or any other anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated, and any right to free transport from the council may be withdrawn.
If transport provision is withdrawn it would then become the parent/guardian's responsibility to get the child to school at their own expense.
To raise behaviour standards, we have fitted CCTV on some school buses and coaches so we can confirm the identity of any pupils who choose to disregard this behaviour code.
Fore more information, visit Safe school transport.
Wiltshire Council has a duty to protect personal information - visit Privacy notice - Passenger transport for more information.
01225 712 852
Passenger Transport Unit