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 is a barrier for students attending the closest school they can enrol at. Find out if your child is eligible for school transport assistance.


School transport assistance is usually a place on a school bus. It can also be an allowance that contributes to the cost of the caregiver transporting their child 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).

Eligibility criteria

Your child must meet all three 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, i.e. the closest Catholic school if a Catholic education is chosen.

Māori-medium schools eligibility – Ministry of Education(external link)

  • 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 is public transport that travels within:

      • 2.4 km of the roadside gate of your home, and
      • 2.4 km of the closest appropriate school.

and can provide transport that does not require your child to:

      • be picked up before 7am
      • arrive at school before it starts
      • can be picked up no later than one hour after school finishes
      • change buses more than once on a journey.

Your school will tell you if a Ministry-funded service is cancelled because public transport has become available.


To apply for school transport assistance, talk to your child’s school about whether 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

If your child meets the criteria for a conveyance allowance (see above), you can apply online. Please start the application and submit to your school who will complete their section of the application and send to the Ministry of Education.

Link to Conveyance Allowance application(external link).

The Ministry keeps your child's information secure. Personal information in the application is required for the Ministry to decide whether your child qualifies for school transport assistance and for reporting and evaluation purposes. 

A privacy statement explaining how we will manage your personal information can be found on our website: Legal and privacy – Ministry of Education(external link)

Bus routes, stops and keeping your child safe

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(external link) 

For further information about how accidents and incidents are managed, see:

Accidents and incidents(external link) 


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 287 272(external link)

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