School transport assistance
The Ministry provides school transport assistance to help parents overcome barriers to education and meet their responsibility to get their children to school. The Ministry may provide assistance where distance and/or accessibility may be a barrier for students attending the closest school they can enrol at. Find out if your child is eligible for school transport assistance.
- Eligibility criteria
- Apply for assistance
- Bus routes, stops and keeping your child safe
School transport assistance is usually a place on a school bus.
Your child might instead/also be eligible for a conveyance allowance to contribute to the cost of transporting them to school.
For information about school transport assistance for children and young people with safety and/or mobility needs, see: Specialised School Transport Assistance (SESTA)
Your child must meet all 3 eligibility criteria to get school transport assistance:
- The school must be the closest state or state integrated school your child can enrol at
For students attending a state integrated school, it must be the closest school of its type, ie, the closest Catholic school if a Catholic education is chosen.
For students attending Māori-medium schools (which must either deliver Te Reo at Level 1, or at Level 2 and 51% or more of the instruction is in Te Reo), which ever Maori-medium school is chosen will be considered the closest, in recognition of the importance of iwi and hapū affiliation to a Maori-medium education.
- Your child must live more than a certain distance from the school
Years 1-8: At least 3.2 km from the school (over the shortest public road or pedestrian route from home roadside gate to the school’s front gate).
Years 9-13: At least 4.8 km from the school (over the shortest public road or pedestrian route from home roadside gate to the school’s front gate).
- There must be no suitable public transport options
Conveyance allowance criteria
Your child may be eligible for a conveyance allowance if they meet all 3 criteria above and:
- there isn’t a school bus available, or
- they live more than 2.4 km from the nearest school bus route
“Suitable” public transport
“Suitable” public transport must travel within:
- 2.4 km of the roadside gate of your home, and
- 2.4 km of the closest appropriate school
- won't have to be picked up before 7 am
- can get to school before it starts
- can be picked up no later than one hour after school finishes
- won't have to change buses more than once on a journey
Your school will tell you if there won’t be a Ministry-funded service anymore because public transport has become available.
To apply for school transport assistance, talk to your child’s school about whether they are eligible. If they are eligible for:
A place on a school bus
The school’s bus controller will arrange the details of the transport with you.
A conveyance allowance to help with transport costs
Your school’s bus controller will provide you with the School Transport Conveyance Allowance Application Form or you can download it from the Education website. You will need to complete section A and take it to your school, who will then submit it to the Ministry.
The personal information on the form is collected for the purposes of assessing eligibility for school transport assistance and for reporting and evaluation purposes. The information collected by the Ministry may be used or disclosed by the Ministry only for these purposes.
The information will be used and held by the Ministry under the Privacy Act 2000 (and, where applicable, the Health Information Privacy Code 2000), and caregivers have the right to see the information and ask us to correct it.
Routes are designed by the Ministry of Education, and bus companies decide where the safest stops are along the route. For information about routes and stops, contact your school.
For tips about what you as a caregiver can do to keep children safe, and information about behaviour problems, vehicle safety, and driver checking, see:
Safety and behaviour — Education website
For further information about how accidents and incidents are managed, see:
Accidents and incidents — Education website
Every school receiving school transport bus services has a designated bus controller. Please contact your school and speak to the bus controller for queries relating to eligibility, bus routes and bus stops.
If you have queries regarding applications for SESTA, general conveyance allowance or payments, please contact the Ministry at:
0800 BUS2SCHOOL (0800 287 272)
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