School transport - Routes and stops

Routes are designed by the Ministry of Education. Transport service providers decide where the safest stops are along the route.


For information about the route a bus takes contact the school's transport service provider.


For information about bus stop locations contact the school's transport service provider.

How a route is designed

Routes are designed to transport as many eligible students as efficiently as possible.

Routes usually travel down main roads and students are expected to make their own way to a central bus stop.

Route design takes into consideration:

  • location of eligible students
  • location of bus stops
  • safety
  • timetables
  • Ministry cost limits 
  • any approved exemptions.

Eligibility for school transport assistance

The route is finalised after discussion between the Regional Transport Advisor, the transport service provider, and the affected schools.

Changes to routes

Moved, shortened, or stopped

A route may be moved, shortened, or stopped if the Ministry establishes that the service isn't viable anymore. For example, there might not be enough eligible students using the bus. 

If a route is changed, a Conveyance Allowance may be paid to caregivers of eligible students.

If a school bus service is shortened or stopped, a minimum of 1 full term’s notice is given to the affected schools.


Schools may want to request that a bus route is extended to serve more eligible students.

Ministry services usually travel along main roads — extensions may be approved along main or side roads.

Extensions will be considered if:

  • there are 4 or more eligible students living on or around the proposed extension
  • the distance to the home of the furthest eligible student is at least 2.4 kilometres from the road the bus currently travels along.

Extensions will be approved if the above criteria and the other route design guidelines are met, such as safety and ability for the bus to turn.

Students may need to travel to meet the vehicle at this central point.

The decision to extend a route is made by the Ministry (Regional Transport Advisor), the transport service provider and the affected schools.


Schools can contact their transport service provider for the local timetable.

General timetable rules are:

  • students aren't picked up before 7am
  • students should be set down by 5pm
  • ideally, students shouldn't be on the vehicle longer than 60 minutes.

There may be exceptions due to local circumstances, such as route length, school starting times, and the number of schools on the route.

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