Eligibility for school transport assistance

Find the eligibility criteria and application forms for transport assistance and conveyance assistance.

Level of complianceMain audienceOther

Inform

  • Boards
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Parents, Caregivers & Whānau
  • Bus Controllers
  • General Staff/Administrators

This guidance provides schools, bus controllers, parents, caregivers and whānau with the criteria to assess whether their students are eligible to receive transport assistance.

Overview

School transport assistance is usually a place on a school bus. Students might instead/also be eligible for a conveyance allowance to contribute to the cost of transporting them to school.

Our Specialised School Transport Assistance (SESTA) page has more information about school transport assistance for children and young people with safety and/or mobility needs.

Eligibility criteria

Students must meet all three eligibility criteria to get school transport assistance.

Criteria 1

The school must be the closest state or state-integrated school where the student can enrol.

For students attending a state-integrated school, it must be the closest school of its type — that is, the closest Catholic school if a Catholic education is chosen.

For students attending Māori medium schools (MMS) — which must either deliver Te Reo at Level 1, or at Level 2 and 51% or more of the instruction is in Te Reo — whichever MMS is chosen will be considered the closest, in recognition of the importance of iwi and hapu affiliation to a Maori-medium education.

Criteria 2

Students must live more than a certain distance from the school.

Years 1-8: At least 3.2 kilometres 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 kilometres from the school, over the shortest public road or pedestrian route from home roadside gate to the school’s front gate.

Criteria 3 

There must be no “suitable” public transport options.

Transfer of Eligibility

If a student who is eligible for Ministry funded transport assistance to their closest school decides to attend a school that is further away, they may still be able to access School Transport Assistance.

In these cases, the Ministry uses its eligibility criteria again to see if the student qualifies for assistance. They will be assessed based on the distance from the proposed pick up/drop off location (this must be an existing school bus stop within the chosen school’s Transport Eligibility Zone) to the chosen school.

The student’s chosen school will inform the student’s parents or caregivers if the student qualifies for transport assistance.

Please note that parents or caregivers are responsible for transporting their child to the proposed pick up/drop off location within the chosen school’s Transport Eligibility Zone.

Check out our Transfer of Eligibility factsheet [PDF, 259 KB] for more information.

Conveyance allowance criteria

Students may be eligible for a conveyance allowance if they meet all three transport assistance criteria and:

  • there is not a school bus available, or
  • they live more than 2.4 kilometres from the nearest school bus route.

”Suitable” public transport

“Suitable” public transport must travel within:

  • 2.4 kilometres of the roadside gate of the student’s home
  • 2.4 kilometres of the closest appropriate school.

The student:

  • will not require pick up before 7am
  • can get to school before it starts
  • can be picked up no later than one hour after school finishes
  • will not require change of buses more than once on a journey.

If a suitable public transport option becomes available, the Ministry gives affected schools at least one full term’s notice of the change, and schools must tell the caregivers of students.

Eligibility for transport assistance

It is the Bus Controller’s responsibility to check a student’s eligibility. An application is not required for a place on the school bus. Caregivers should be directed to your schools Bus Controller to request transport assistance.

Applications for conveyance allowance

Schools are responsible for submitting the applications for conveyance allowance to the Ministry.

The caregivers should fill out Section A of the School Transport Conveyance Allowance Application form [DOCX, 87 KB] before the school completes section B.

Email the form to school.transport@education.govt.nz.

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