Councillors will consider a number of proposed changes to home to school transport arrangements when they meet next week.
Durham County Council currently provides home to school transport for more than 9,000 children and young people across the county every day.
Growing demand and inflation have seen the cost of providing the service rise to £23.4 million this year, with a further increase of £5.7 million forecast next year.
Earlier in the year the council consulted on proposed changes aimed at transforming the service.
Members of the council’s cabinet will consider a report on the outcomes of the consultation and the resulting proposals when they meet on Wednesday 14 June.
Cllr Ted Henderson, cabinet member for Children and Young People’s Services, said: “Due to increasing budget pressures, we need to make sure our home to school transport service is the most effective and cost efficient it can be.
“Unfortunately, costs have soared in recent years due to growing demand, rising fuel prices and wages, and inflation, with further significant increases forecast.
“At the moment we are going above and beyond our statutory duties and the proposed changes will bring us more in line with other councils around the country.”
The recommendations include:
• increasing the charge from £1.63 to £2 a day for concessionary fares to bring them into line with the region’s Bus Service Improvement Plan, such fares are currently provided on a discretionary basis
• phasing out of some concessionary travel routes that do not fall under the council’s statutory duty
• undertaking a review to explore potential efficiency savings in how single person transport and passenger assistants are provided
• developing a new programme to help children with special educational needs and disabilities learn the skills they need to travel independently, where safe and appropriate
• making it simpler and easier for parents and carers to access Personal Travel Budgets so they can make their own travel choices
• physical works to improve routes currently classified as “unsafe”, which would enable some pupils to walk or cycle to school
• working with a small number of schools and parents to trial mutual pickup points to assess their effectiveness
Cllr Henderson added: “We would like to express our thanks to those that took the time to respond to the consultation.
“We’ve listened very carefully to what people have had to say, and as a result, we’ve reduced the proposed increase in charges for concessionary fares.
“If agreed, we will be working closely with families and want to reassure them that individual needs will be taken into consideration and that children’s safety is our top priority.”