A SERIES of schemes providing home-to-school transport in Thurrock are to go out to tender, with current contracts due to expire in July.

The scheme will help to find ways for the council to save money as budgets for local authorities continue to be cut by central government.

At a cabinet meeting last night, council leader John Kent said Thurrock was looking at ways to deliver savings whilst maintaining statutory obligations, and that it had a long history of providing more transport for education than required but that that time was coming to an end.

He said: “We have consolidated a number of routes so the total has reduced from 179 in 2011 to 140 in 2014; we have decommissioned post-16 transport and supported the creation of the popular post-16 bus pass - we are also looking at the possibility of a bus-pass for secondary school pupils.

“It is also important to note that all our contracts have a 56-day termination clause – so changes can be made if necessary without involving huge compensation costs.”

The meeting also saw cabinet seek approval to double the cost of places for those who do not qualify for free educational transport from £200 to £400, which would put the council in a full cost recovery position to prevent heavy subsidising.