Buy a vacant seat

If your child doesn’t qualify for free school transport, you may be able to pay for their seat.  

We can offer this if: 

  • there is space on one of our existing routes 
  • they don’t already get free school transport on another route 
  • there is no public transport route they could use 

Check if you already qualify for free school transport

What does it cost?

Prices from September 2023 

Primary school children:  

  • £94.35 per term (6 terms per year) 
  • Extra children from the same family are £70.76 per term. 

Secondary school and sixth form children:  

  • £188.70 per term (6 terms per year) 
  • Extra children from the same family are £141.53 per term. 

Which schools do we serve?

Check the list to see if we serve your child’s school with our transport.  

Primary schools 

  • Alfriston School 
  • Burwash C E Primary School 
  • Dallington CE School 
  • Firle Primary School 
  • Laughton Community Primary School 
  • Little Horsted C of E Primary 
  • Ninfield C of E Primary School 
  • Rye Community Primary School 
  • St Peter’s C of E Primary School (Chailey) 

Also see: Primary school coach timetables 

Secondary schools 


How to buy a vacant seat

First, complete the request form.

After we have allocated places to everyone who qualifies, we'll confirm if we have seats left for you to buy.

  • for the start of a new school year, you’ll find out if you can buy a vacant seat in November 
  • if you apply after November in a school year, we aim to respond within 10 working days 

Availability of seats

  • we cannot guarantee there will always be vacant seats on our vehicles
  • due to legislative constraints we are only able to offer a maximum of 20% of a vehicle's capacity as vacant seats. Your request may be declined if the number of vacant seats on the service exceeds this.
  • you will need to re-apply for a vacant seat space each school year

New school year allocation

  • applications for a new school year in September should only be made once the previous school year is over
  • for a new school year seats are usually allocated at the end of October. This is to ensure that all children who are authorised for free home to school transport have seats first
  • we suggest that you always plan alternate arrangements for the first half term of any school year

Priority for seats

  • Children who qualify for free transport have priority.
  • Available seats can be reduced if they are needed for qualifying children, services can also be removed or vehicle size reduced. If this happens, you must make alternative arrangements. The County Council cannot help arrange, or pay for these.
  • If there are more applications than seats, we use this order of priority:
    • Students attending their designated school or sixth form* – those furthest from the school or sixth form have priority.
    • Students not attending their designated school or sixth form* – those living nearest to the school or sixth form have priority.
    • Date of application – We will prioritise based on date of application, lowest priority will be applied to applications after the start of term.

Your designated school is the one suitable for your child that serves your area. If there’s more than one, it’s the nearest suitable school to your home with a place available.

Conditions of travel

  • the timetabled stops on the vehicle will not be altered for a vacant seat collection
  • timetabled stop locations and times may change during the academic year
  • Students should arrive at their pickup point in time. The vehicle will not normally be able to wait
  • Students without a valid permit may not be able to travel. Defaced or misused permits may be confiscated
  • Occasionally, the vehicle may be delayed due to traffic conditions. Students should wait for up to 20 minutes for the vehicle to arrive. They need be prepared for the weather conditions
  • we expect students to behave appropriately when travelling
  • County Council officers monitor vehicles at random throughout the year
  • even though your child has a travel permit, it’s still your responsibility to get your child to school

Payment for travel

  • You pay in advance each term, for at least one term. We shall send your permit as soon as possible after we receive payment.
  • We will send requests for future payments when they are due.

Please note: - We cannot send new permits until you pay for the next term (and any debts). If you pay late, your permit will be late and your child won’t be able to travel.

Reductions and refunds

  • There’s a reduction for other children travelling in the same family, if one child is paying the full rate. We will refund you if we need to withdraw your permit.
  • There’s no reduction or refund for:
    • students who travel for only part of the term, unless they join or permanently leave the scheme
    • exceptional circumstances like bad weather or vehicle breakdown
    • students absent from school on a temporary basis

Withdrawal from the scheme

  • Where students no longer need to use a vehicle, parents must let us know immediately, and return the permit. This helps to avoid depriving another child of that seat and also avoids payment being charged for the remainder of the term.
  • Occasions do arise where it is necessary, sometimes at short notice, to withdraw the right for a student to travel during a school year. An appropriate refund would be given.
  • If a student cannot continue to travel, their parents must make their own alternative arrangements. The County Council cannot help arrange, or pay for these.

Lost or damaged permits

  • it costs £10 to replace a permit
  • you can pay with a credit or debit card. We cannot accept cash or cheques