THE leaders of a council facing a £2.5m overspend on home-to-school transport have agreed measures to strip back the service to the legal minimum.

North Yorkshire County Council’s executive unanimously approved a series of measures which will see free transport only available to the pupil’s catchment school or nearest school, rather than to catchment schools and any school closer to their home address. Councillors had been warned the move could lead to some schools becoming oversubscribed and the future of others threatened.

The cost-cutting measures will also include pupils who have two homes only being offered free transport from one location, which has also been criticised for adding pressure to children with separated parents.

The decision follows a 12-week public consultation on the proposals, which looked at bringing the authority’s policy in line with Department for Education guidelines.

Councillor Patrick Mulligan told the meeting: “We are looking for further efficiencies and I think what we are doing is essentially realigning our policy to statutory requirements.”

Councillor Michael Harrison said some residents would be surprised about the council’s current level of provision and restricting where a pupil could catch a bus from was “entirely the right thing to do.”