Free bus travel this Summer for families with children in receipt of free school meals

Stagecoach bus

Families with children who have free school meals can enjoy free bus travel across the county during the summer holidays.

Thanks to funding provided through the government’s National Bus Strategy and the co-operation of Kent’s local bus operators, eligible families can benefit from the scheme, titled Bus About Kent, between 23 July and 31 August.

Families of up to four can take advantage of the offer, as long as there is at least one adult in the party, and a maximum of two.

Families already in receipt of benefits-related free school meals automatically receive an e-voucher that contains the digital bus pass via email from their child’s school.

David Brazier, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “We are pleased to be able to promote this offer to some of the county’s most hard-pressed families and thank the bus companies and their staff involved for their co-operation in implementing it.”

Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “Supporting Kent County Council with providing free bus travel to children on free school meals during the holidays is yet another important way we’re helping families in Kent save money through the cost of living increase and make the most of the fantastic days out and holiday opportunities Kent has to offer.

“People up and down the country deserve a modern, reliable, and affordable public transport system. That is why we’re providing Kent County Council with over £37 million to boost its bus services.”

To check if you are eligible for free school meals go to: Free school meals – Kent County Council

Families, with up to four people travelling each time, will be able to use it as many times as they like between 23 July and 31 August. Simply show it to the bus driver.

There are some restrictions on the use of this bus pass:

  • at least one child and one adult must travel together;
  • journeys cannot start after 8pm in the evening;
  • it is only for use by the family to whom it was allocated;
  • these passes are only valid for journeys in areas maintained by Kent County Council. The passes cannot be used to travel into or out of the county (for example on services that start or operate in Medway, East Sussex, West Sussex or the Transport for London area);

The pass is valid in Kent on the following buses:

  • Autocar
  • Arriva
  • Chalkwell
  • Farleigh Coaches
  • Go Coach
  • Hams Travel
  • Kent Coach Tours
  • Metrobus
  • Nu-Venture
  • R&J Coaches
  • Redroute
  • Regent Coaches
  • Stagecoach
  • Starline Coaches.

KCC has also announced that older and disabled people who have a concessionary bus pass ride the buses for free for longer.

During August, KCC will remove the limit restricting people who have an English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS) pass to travel from Kent or Medway after 9.30am.

People with a valid pass will be able to use the bus at any time up until 11pm Monday to Friday and all day at weekends.


  1. Really? If you miss out on free school meals you also now miss out on free bus passes? This is simply divisive. It does nothing to bring a community together. Can we not look after ALL our children better?

    • Everything should be free, eh Sharon?
      But it’s not free is it? The taxpayer is paying.

      • This is a bus pass for some children for only 5 weeks. Where did I say all should be free? Are you saying the money we pay in taxes is well spent?

  2. Personally, I’d rather the money was spent on giving bus passes to 60-65 year olds, as they do in London, Wales and Scotland!

  3. I feel sorry ,for ,parents,who earn just a few pounds over the limit,and get ,no monetary help at all.These families always end poorer,than those on benefits,sometimes just by being a few pounds over the limit,,.Surely some kind of sliding scale should be brought in

  4. Just a really nasty way to treat families and children for what is only 5 weeks of holiday time.

  5. Absolutely agree all children should have like previous years. Why put a divide in who can have or can’t have. I work minimum wage and pay my taxes so why shouldnt we get something back for our children. In London all children travel free…. why not

  6. In my opinion,its just another gov data gathering campaign.

    Dont fall for it, your data will be stored&used…..

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