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The Network Rider is one of Bedfordshire’s local community minibus schemes, It is going to be managed and driven by volunteers from the area.

Travel distance and Cost

Travel choice and preference for independent and Faith schools can lead to travel over longer distances for urban schools.

Work: Two out of five jobseekers say lack of transport is a barrier to getting a job.
Learning: Nearly half of 16 – 18-year-old students say they find their transport costs hard to meet. Accessing new employment and training opportunities.
Social activities: 18 per cent of non-car owners find sending their children to participate into these activities difficult because of higher cost of public transport.

In County authorities 47% attend a school other than the nearest schools and these learners travel on average 3.7 miles. By comparison, pupils going to their nearest schools on average only travel 1.2 miles.

Just under 50% of 16-18 year olds found transport costs hard to meet and the car dominates as the travel mode, it influences life styles and very often the young and elderly suffer from poor accessibility because of this.

Looking closer at education transport; at the turn of the century 16-18 year olds were spending, on average, £370 a year on education related to transport, so 20 % young people said they had to drop out of further education because of financial difficulties- the biggest expenditure being the transport.

The average cost to the parents who paid bus/taxi fares for their children was £7.29 per pupil per week. Some of these pupils will have been travelling more than 3 miles, but to a school other than their nearest suitable one.

Choice of school is often hindered by concerns amongst parents about the cost and availability of transport, and there is a real inequity in how far children are able to travel to school.

Given the proportion of pupils attending a school other than their nearest one, it is not surprising that a DFES study found that nearly two traveled to school by bus or taxi had their fares paid by their families rather than by local authority.

pupils under 16 years old are eligible for free transport to school if it is three miles or more from their home(two miles for those under 8 years old), but only if there is the nearest suitable school. This can cause low-income households to send their children to the nearest school even if they would prefer them to be educated elsewhere.

Due to budget cut, this mode of travel is not available and most of low-income households are frustrated. In light of this, most of the children left out from the eligibility criteria set by Bedford Borough Council. This is a major problem which Rider would like to address. Together we can help and serve Bedford community. Bedford Borough council is going to support these initiatives that encourage accessibility to education, work and training.

In order to reduce frustration caused by the eligibility criteria and lack of choice for those willing to educate the children from school of their choice; and helping children and young people to achieve their full potential and make Bedford an even better place for people to live.

The Bedfordshire Children and Young People’s Plan is a single, strategic, overarching plan for all services for children and young people in Bedfordshire with the following challenges and priorities:

  • Be healthy
  • Enjoy and achieve
  • Stay safe
  • Make a positive contribution
  • Achieve economic well-being
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The achievement of these priorities must include improved access to education and learning and the promotion of social inclusion through the development of travel choice.

The Network Rider would like to provide a transport service for all children and young people for aged over 5 and 16 for low-income households subject to supportive evidence.

Local authorities will take on a new strategic role, including duties to promote choice, diversity, high standards and, for the first time, the fulfillment of every child’s educational potential. The Act extends local authorities duties to support choice though provision of transport arrangements, including provision of free transport for the most disadvantaged families.

Key Issues effecting Young People in Bedfordshire.
They also provide a basis for developing local solutions.

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