A DECISION to end free home to school transport for special needs and disabled pupils aged 16 to 18 has helped save the public purse £905,000 in its first year.

A North Yorkshire County Council review of the school transport overhaul, which also saw special needs students aged 19 and above recognised as adults in education and parents offered a higher transport allowance, has concluded the implementation of the policy has “not had a detrimental impact on the ability of young people accessing their education”.

An officers report to the authority’s transport scrutiny committee states: “The policy changes has had a positive influence on the home to school transport expenditure.”

Following the end of free transport, 70 young people made alternative arrangements, creating a saving of £316,000.

Officers said mid-year checks showed those people were still continuing in education.

However, officers concluded while the parental transport offer rising for 30p a mile to 45p was attractive to new applicants, the authority was facing reluctance from existing transport users.

The report adds: “The impact of 136 young people no longer requiring home to school transport from the local authority has a positive environmental impact on the number of vehicles the authority are placing in circulation to meet the statutory duty.”