The policy of Brighton & Hove City Council for 2021/22

The Council’s policy for providing travel assistance to secondary age children and young people is:

  • to promote independent travel for all secondary age children unless it is clear that, following an assessment, they cannot travel to school safely due to their special educational needs and/or disability
  • to support parents and schools/colleges to encourage and promote independent travel for children at secondary school age
  • to develop sustainable methods of transport such as walking, cycling and the use of public transport to replace taxi travel to and from schools and colleges
  • for schools and parents to work collaboratively to develop children and young people’s independence by actively supporting independent travel trainers, as appropriate, to work with children for agreed periods of time
  • to develop life skills, self-confidence and self-esteem of children and young people within their local communities

This policy statement applies to young people studying at schools, colleges of other mainstream further education providers. The same principles apply to the Council’s policy for travel assistance for students aged 16 to 19 in further education, continuing students aged 19 and over and 19 to 24 year old students who have a learning or a physical disability.

Public transport arrangements available to all students

Learners aged 16 to 18 may access the following concessionary fares, discounts, subsidies, passes or travel cards made available by transport providers. 

Bus travel

The following concessions are operated by Brighton & Hove Bus Company - see contact details below:

  • the Bus ID card gives discounts for travel on Brighton & Hove Buses from age 5 to 18 - there is no charge for the card
  • special deals are also available to NUS card holders and young people who are doing an apprenticeship

Find information about discounts offered to young people by Brighton & Hove buses within the city and bus travel in neighbouring counties for all 16 to 18 year olds. You can also find information about travel for students and apprentices


Rail travel

Brighton & Hove City Council, in partnership with West & East Sussex County Councils, has negotiated a scheme called the ‘Sussex Student Card’ that allows rail season tickets between home and school or college to be purchased at two thirds of the usual cost. The discount is available to full-time FE students aged 16 and over who are studying at publicly funded schools or colleges and whose home address is in Brighton & Hove. 

The discount applies to any train journey within the Southern Railways and Southeastern areas (not including London).

Find full details about the further education season tickets of the scheme.

Discounts for 16 and 17 year olds

16 and 17 year olds with the 16 to 17 Saver will be eligible for 50% off standard Anytime, Off-Peak, Advance and Season tickets. The 16 to 17 Saver is available to buy online for £30.

The 16 to 17 Saver is valid for one year or up until the holder’s 18th birthday, whichever comes first. However, season tickets bought with a 16 to 17 Saver discount before it expires, can be used for up to 4 months after the expiry date.

Discounts for 18 year olds in further education

Further education students over 18 can get up to 1 third off monthly or longer season tickets with a Sussex Student Card. It’s free apart from the need to send a recent passport-style photo with the application. You can find the application form online.

Find details of the Brighton Unizone.

Young people aged 16 to 25 can buy a young person’s railcard that gives them one third off travel throughout Britain after 10am on weekdays and during off peak times.

Eligibility for travel assistance

The Council recognises that some students may not be able to travel to school or college independently or may not yet be ready to do so. The council expects that, where possible, parents or carers should be responsible for making travel arrangements for students. This could include support from their broader family networks. The council will consider offering some additional direct financial help towards travel costs for young people with low incomes in exceptional circumstances.

All students should discuss with their school or college student support service whether they may be eligible with transport costs from the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund.

In all cases in order to qualify for assistance:

  • students must be living in the area of Brighton and Hove City Council when their course starts
  • students must be taking or about to take a full-time further education course. A full time course is a course more than 15 hours a week. We do not normally offer assistance to students taking part-time courses. However, students who feel they may have an exceptional case may put this in writing and return an application form for special consideration
  • students must be taking or about to take a full-time further education course such as ‘A’ Level, GCSE, GNVQ, BTEC National Diploma, Art Foundation etc.
  • assistance is not given for attendance at private schools or colleges
  • students must be aged under the age of 19 on 31st August before their course starts
  • we will not normally offer support for journeys from home to college that exceed 15 miles or one and a quarter hours’ travelling time. The council does not have a budget to help with residential costs
  • if students want to attend a school or college outside Brighton & Hove they would be eligible for assistance only in cases where the course they want to study is essential to their career plan and there is no suitable course at a school or college campus in Brighton & Hove or they have special educational needs and there is no course appropriate to their needs in Brighton & Hove
  • the student must be travelling over three miles to their nearest appropriate provider
  • if students are Looked After by the Local Authority the same eligibility criteria apply as for other children/students. However arrangements’ should be made and funded by the carer, as funding for this is provided in the allowances paid by the councils fostering teams (agencies and in house) to carers
  • if a student chooses to change career direction or course this may affect their eligibility for travel assistance. For students with low income applying for travel assistance they or their families must be receiving one of the following benefits or tax credits
    • income Support
    • income Based Job Seekers Allowance
    • income related Employment and Support Allowance
    • child Tax Credit - as long as you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190
    • working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
    • Universal Credit - as long as you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods
  • eligible students will be reimbursed by calculating the cheapest available fare for the journey and paying those expected costs which exceed the first £10.80 per week - as a Saver ticket bought with a Bus ID Card allows travel across the City for less than £10.80 per week, this means that, in normal circumstances, help is not offered to students attending colleges within Brighton & Hove
  • for students with a learning or a physical disability consideration will be made of the following points:
    • the student’s learning or physical disabilities
    • whether a similar course is available at a nearer school or college
    • in such circumstances the agreed mileage rate will be paid - 30p per mile
    • the length of complexity of the journey and whether parents or carers could reasonably be expected to arrange transport or act as a chaperone themselves. If parents/ carers or other family members are not available this should be fully explained in the application

In all cases a transport panel will review the application, take into account the factors raised and decide if travel assistance will be provided. The panel will decide the form of travel assistance to be offered.

Travel assistance will not be withdrawn in the course of an academic year, except where a programme of independent travel training has been completed successfully or a student’s circumstances have changed significantly. 

Parents and carers must discuss travel to work experience with the college. The council will not make arrangements or provide funding for travel to work experience placements.


You can phone the Post 16 transport team on 01273 295 196, send an email to

New requests for special educational need and disabilities (SEND) transport should be made via the Home-to-School Transport Team. You can phone the SEND team on 01273 293 552 or send an email to


Right of review or appeal

Any applicant who has been refused assistance with travel is entitled to ask for a review of the decision. Any request for review should be made in writing or by email to the Post 16 Transport Team within 20 working days of the council’s decision. Within 20 working days of receipt of the applicant’s request a senior officer within the council will review the decision.

If the applicant is unhappy with the outcome of the review they have 20 working days in which to appeal further to an independent panel of officers. The panel will be made up of three officers of the council who had no involvement in the original decision to refuse help with transport. The appeal panel will review the appeal within 40 days of receipt of the request. The panel does have the power to reach a different decision in individual cases.

The applicant has the right to make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) if they consider that there was a failure to comply with the procedural rules or if they consider there to have been any other irregularities in the way the appeal has been handled. The internal review/ appeal process must be completed before making a referral to the LGO.


If an applicant is unhappy with any aspect of the transport service, they should talk to the Post 16 Transport Team. The council will liaise with the taxi drivers on behalf of the applicant. The Post 16 transport team at the council can be contacted as above.

If the applicant complains about transport to the school/college, the school/college will inform the council and ask them to investigate the complaint. If a complaint about a transport provider is upheld, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken by the transport provider or in extreme cases the contract with a travel company may be terminated.