Vacant Seats Payment Scheme

If your child is not eligible for free school transport, you may be able to receive transport assistance through our Vacant Seats Payment Scheme.

If there are empty seats on the vehicles we hire for children who are eligible for free travel, we can offer these seats to other children. This is only available on existing transport, where there is a space and we cannot make any special arrangements to routes or times. There is a fee and seats are offered on a first come, first served basis at the council's discretion.

We offer this scheme annually, so you must re-apply each year. There is no guarantee that the scheme will always be available and even if you are offered a seat when you apply, it may not be possible to offer a seat to you in subsequent years.

It is the parental responsibility to arrange transport for your child whilst awaiting the outcome of your application. Seats can only be offered after the start of term and once children who are eligible for free school transport have been allocated a seat. This may take a number of weeks and it is unlikely that we would be able to offer a seat before the end of September.


The cost of the scheme is:

  • £200 for terms 1, 2 and 3
  • £200 for terms 4, 5 and 6.

Payment can only be made by cheque or postal order. Cheques must be made payable to Kent County Council.


If you want to be considered for the scheme, please complete the Vacant Seats Payment Scheme application form (PDF, 122.1 KB). This form will also need to be completed if you have not applied for free school transport, but still wish to be considered for the scheme.

Please send your completed form to either:

If you have any questions regarding the scheme, call the relevant school area:

  • East Kent (Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone, Hythe, Swale, Thanet) - 03000 41 45 71
  • West Kent (Dartford, Gravesham, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells) – 03000 41 35 83.