Eligibility for 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.


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.

Specialised School Transport Assistance (SESTA)

Eligibility criteria

Students must meet all 3 eligibility criteria to get school transport assistance.

Criteria 1

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

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.

Conveyance allowance criteria

Students 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 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, and
  • 2.4 kilometres of the closest appropriate school.

The student:

  • won't have to be picked up before 7am
  • can get to school before it starts
  • can be picked up no later than 1 hour after school finishes
  • won't have to change buses more than once on a journey.

If a suitable public transport option becomes available, the Ministry gives affected schools at least 1 full term’s notice of the change, and schools must tell the caregivers of students.

Applications for transport assistance

Caregivers will contact you to find out whether their child is eligible for transport assistance. Your Bus Controller should assess whether the student is eligible using the above criteria.

Applications for conveyance allowance

Send the caregiver the following application form and ask them to complete section A before sending it back to you.

School Transport Conveyance Allowance Application form [DOCX, 87 KB]

You must then complete section B and email the form to the Ministry.

Email: school.transport@education.govt.nz

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback