£2 million costs for transport

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Peterborough City Council news from the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday
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Nearly £2 million was spent on passenger transport by Peterborough City Council in the past year.

The council handed over £1,936,825 in 2014/15 for the journeys which it says were mostly to take children to school.

But it was unable to say whether council staff had used the journeys themselves due to the length of time it would take to provide an answer.

The money spent was revealed in an Freedom of Information request which asked the council how much it has paid for taxis, or similar transport methods.

The response said the money was spent on: “Passenger transport for Mainstream, Special Education Needs and Childrens Social Care which include a few Adult Social Care journeys.”

Mainstream refers to a child attending education without the requirement of additional educational support due to special educational needs or a disability.

The money spent on all journeys was £1,714,785 in 2013/14 and £1,557,109 in 2012/13.

The council lists on its website a number of statutory reasons why it has to provide free school transport.

These include transport for pupils in primary and secondary schools when they attend their nearest suitable or designated school and live more than a couple of miles away from it.

Students of compulsory school age with special educational needs may be entitled to transport if necessary.

Between the financial year starting in April and ending in December 2014, 18,862 social care journeys were completed, of which 24 per cent were made by taxis.

The number of students using passenger transport, including taxis and bus passes, is 1,857, of which 655 have special education needs and 1,150 are mainstream. Jon Lewis, the council’s service director for education, said: “We have a statutory obligation to ensure every child in Peterborough receives an education.

“This sometimes includes transporting pupils between home and school where the nearest school is over a certain distance.

“Each pupil and journey is assessed to decide the most appropriate and efficient means of transport.

“In some cases, using a taxi is the most effective means of taking a pupil to school.

“The needs of each pupil are regularly checked to ensure arrangements remain appropriate and cost efficient.

“Our continued investment in expanding schools will reduce our costs over time and we are working hard to create extra school spaces where they are most needed.”

To view the council page on school transport, visit: https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/residents/schools-and-education/school-transport/

For statutory guidance issued by the government, see: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/331654/Home_to_school_travel_and_transport_statutory_guidance.pdf.