How do I know?
My son’s application is currently somewhere in the mountain and I’ve just rung up a helpful lady at Manchester education to ask. The lady said they dealt with thousands of applications because everyone has to reapply each year!!
I hate to think of the manpower they require to process everyone who requires a bus pass, both within the Manchester area and outside (like Bury).
I asked why they didn’t either:
- Provide a bus pass valid from the time the child enters school in year 7 to their final year
- Don’t bother with a pass and let all school children have free transport on school days and at school times
I was told they had to issue bus passes each year because people move house all the time. That means the children could move nearer to their school and no longer be eligible for free travel.
Like I said before think of the vast amount of time and energy the education staff expend dealing with all this.
And the phone calls the education department must deal with as parents wonder where their offspring’s bus passes are.
Bus Pass Application Costs
The costs of dealing with the applications just mount up.
These are just a few of the costs I’d expect are being clocked up in the whole procedure:
- Cost of designing the form
- Cost of creating web pages to include the form
- Cost of bandwidth for downloading the form
- Cost of getting the form printed
- Cost of sending the form to schools across Manchester
- Cost of handling the post as the forms are sent back
- Cost of handling forms of those who drop them off at the School Travel unit
- Cost of creating a bus pass so that it’s forgery-proof
- Cost of handling phone calls asking about filling in the forms
- Cost of checking each application’s address on the Internet against the school to check eligibility
- Cost of checking each photograph
- Cost of entering the details on the bus pass and sticking the photograph on
- Cost of sending the schools, or parents, the bus passes
- Cost of school secretary’s handing out bus passes
- Cost of handling phone calls from parents asking where the bus pass is
Obviously some of these costs could be eliminated by refusing to answer phone calls!
How Can We Reduce Costs Reasonably?
It strikes me that the best thing to do would be to scrap bus passes and give all pupils the freedom to travel to and from school for free.
That means the education staff and school secretaries would eliminate a huge amount of work for all the pupils that travel free currently whilst giving pupils that don’t travel free the ability to go by public transport.
Allowing children free access to public transport means there will be fewer parents ferrying children to school. Which I understand is one aim of the congestion charging scheme.
So in addition to eliminating a major cost to the council scrapping the bus pass also means there’ll be less cars on the road at school start and finish times. So helping the environment and cutting congestion!
Of course the downside is that pupils that currently don’t get free travel and who make their own way to school would get free travel. However, if many of them are within walking distance of school there’s unlikely to be many waiting around for a bus to take them.
What do you think?
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