This directory page provides links and resources to a range of topics related to school transport. They support schools, transport service providers and the wider community to understand the Ministry’s role regarding transport assistance, to meet their health and safety obligations, and more.
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Further reading on these topics is essential as it regards information and mandatory action for board members and transport service providers. Parents, caregivers and whānau may benefit from reading about transport assistance to understand whether their student is eligible.
- Eligibility criteria for transport assistance
- Specialised School Transport Assistance (SESTA)
- Route design
- Managing safety, behaviour and accidents
- Information for transport service providers
- School transport contacts
Transcript: School Transport Assistance video
Caregivers are primarily responsible for getting their children to school, but for some students, where distance is a barrier to getting to school or kura, transport assistance may be available.
Most school buses are managed by the Ministry of Education, but some schools are funded to organise their own transport services.
Some local councils also run school buses in urban areas.
For Ministry-funded services, transport assistance can be either:
- A place on a school bus
- an allowance to contribute towards the cost of travel to school or the nearest bus pick-up or drop-off, or
- assistance for students with complex safety or mobility needs.
Three eligibility criteria make sure school transport assistance is provided to the students who need it most.
Students must meet all three eligibility criteria to get school transport assistance.
- The school is the closest state or state-integrated school the student can enrol at.
- The student lives more than a certain distance from the school.
- For Year 1 to 8 students this is at least 3.2 kilometres from the school.
- For Year 9 to 13 students this is at least 4.8 kilometres from the school.
School bus routes fall within the Transport Eligibility Zone of the schools they service.
The boundaries of these zones are set at the halfway point between neighbouring schools of the same type, for example, between two secondary schools.
School enrolment zones, on the other hand, are geographically defined areas around schools to prevent them from becoming overcrowded.
The design of the bus route takes into consideration:
- The location of eligible students, and
- where the safest stops are on the route.
If you’d like to know more about school transport assistance, visit the Ministry of Education website or speak to your school’s Bus Controller.
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.
SESTA is a Ministry of Education transport service that assists children and young people with safety and/or mobility needs that prevent them from travelling independently to school.
School transport routes are designed by the Ministry of Education. Transport service providers decide where the safest stops are along the route.
Read more at School transport — Routes and stops
When there is an accident or incident on school transport, it is the driver or transport service provider's (TSP) responsibility to contact emergency services (on 111). The driver will then follow the health and safety guidelines of the transport provider.
Find further information at Accidents and incidents on school transport
Read about keeping children safe at School transport — Safety and behaviour
Automatic vehicle location technology
School bus operators under contract to the Ministry of Education must have an approved vehicle telematics system fitted to their vehicles.
School Bus Tenders
School bus services will be procured for the Ministry’s daily and technology bus services. The Ministry will award routes based on best public value, which means considering quality, price and broader outcomes, rather than solely on cost.
Find out how to contact your Ministry regional transport advisors and national school transport team.
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