Free London travel for kids to be suspended but ‘special arrangements’ coming for school transport

Free travel for children in London will be temporarily suspended as part of the government’s bailout deal for Transport for London.

Of the six million journeys made each day by bus in the capital, around 1.5 million are for education purposes, and 200,000 tube journeys are made to school each day.

Children in London are entitled to Oyster cards offering free travel on different modes of transport, depending on their age.

Announcing the suspension, the Department for Transport said “special arrangements” will be made to ensure children eligible under the national legislation can still travel to school for free.

Details of this are yet to be announced but under government rules, local authorities are required to provide free school transport for certain groups of children.

Those eligible for free school transport under national rules include children aged eight and under whose nearest school is further than two miles away. This rises to a distance of three miles for pupils aged between eight and 16.

There is also an entitlement for other groups, such as SEND children and families on low incomes.

The DfT said these changes would take place “as soon as practicable”. TfL is yet to confirm how long these would be in place.

The changes are one of several agreements TfL reached with the government as part of a £1.6 billion pay-out to help run public transport for the next four and half months.

Other conditions include suspension of free travel for over-60s in the morning peak, and requiring TfL to collect fares on buses while ensuring driver safety.

Grant Shapps, transport secretary, said: “These conditions are needed to avoid crowding and reduce the exposure of vulnerable groups.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said coronavirus has had a “catastrophic impact” on TfL’s finances, seeing fares income fall by 90 per cent in two months

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  1. Connie Moore

    My son starts secondary school in September. He has to get x2 bus to and from school as we live ‘just under’ three miles from the school.
    I’m a single parent yet he is not eligible for free travel. The school encourages parents not to drive their children to and from school to limit the flow of traffic in the area.
    Sending my son to school will cost me between £3 and £4 a day. So £80 a month.
    If this is to limit the coronavirus why are the schools reopening putting our children at risk?
    Are the school children less important than the bus drivers?

  2. mr black

    TFL what a mess could not pay the £15 for free bus pass for months during lockdown finally got website to acept money in june and was sent email to go to victoria station visitor centre on 11 /8/20 to collect pass as they wanted to SEE childs passport which i had already sent picture of and birth cert etc . so i emailed them to post pass out NO REPLY so travelled fot 1 hour on bus and train from kent in 34 c heat no air con on train arrived at victoria to find office closed verry nice people outside with bowler hats ( visitor helpers ) used there OWN phone to talk to tfl it took 1 hour and the outcome was visitor centres have been closed for 4 months wont open again for months and tfl did deal with goverment to cancel all bus passes for children when i told them my child gets free school meals and under the deal children who get free school meals still get bus pass they said ooohh we dont have any information on that just go on tfl website and cancell your pass and we will refund your £15 i asked how my child will then get to school they said thats your problem !! if i cancell pass it takes 6 weeks before they send new one its aug now she starts school on 2 sep ???? i think there will be a lot of empty desks at school come september.

  3. Gemma Mills

    Im appaled that our kids are having to walk to and from school especially now the nights are getting darker earlier in winter children having to walk home and children that get detentions after school… so many children being abducted lately gives them the element to be following kids home also have you thought about secondary kids that bully others there will be lots of fights and an easy oppourtunity its just not on kids will be easy targets due to this no free bus passes for kids they will have no choice but to walk home i have 2 kids in secondary and would cost me too much for me to get them both on buses… they go on about the free meals in the holidays but they are safe at home in the holidays whos going to be responsible when something happens to one of our children its absolutly disgusting and not on at all have you thought all this through?????