West Yorkshire’s transport system will face a “huge challenge” when all children return to school in September.
The government says all children must return to school full-time in September and West Yorkshire Combined Authority is trying to figure out how they can all travel to school safely while maintaining social distancing.
In West Yorkshire, around 20,000 pupils usually travel on dedicated school buses and another 20,000 use public buses, but capacity has been cut on these services due to Covid-19 restrictions.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority says extra public bus services may be needed and pupils who live less than two miles away from school should be encouraged to walk or cycle.
But it also says dedicated school buses “will resume as before” with a “small number of refinements”.
The authority is now urging parents to fill out a survey and share their child’s travel plans for September, so it can make sure that there is enough space on the public transport network.
‘A huge challenge to the transport system’
Councillor Kim Groves, chairwoman of the authority’s Transport Committee, said: “The return of all children to school in September will pose a huge challenge to the transport system as we try and maximise capacity while maintaining social distancing and Government funding is essential to achieve this.
“We need as much information as possible about how children are intending to travel in September to inform our planning and discussions with the Department for Transport which is why we need as many people as possible to complete this survey.
“In West Yorkshire, the Combined Authority is working closely with schools and our councils to arrange the transport necessary to make the return to school safe and successful for pupils across the region.
“However, to ensure safe social distancing we will need to commission extra buses and we are in discussions with Government on the costs of this.