School Transport Assistance

Information on School Transport Assistance, including eligibility criteria, conveyance allowances and Transfer of Eligibility.

Level of compliance Main audience Other

Inform

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

Overview

The Ministry provides school transport assistance to help students overcome barriers to education and to help caregivers meet their responsibility to get their children to school. The Ministry may provide assistance where distance or a lack of suitable public transport present a barrier for students attending the closest school where they can enrol.

To get school transport assistance, students must meet the eligibility criteria.

School transport assistance is usually provided through a place on a school bus. Some students may 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 for school transport assistance (daily bus and conveyance allowance)

Transcript: School Transport Assistance video

 Students must meet all three eligibility 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, the school must be the closest school of its type. For example, the closest Catholic school if Catholic education is chosen.

 

For students attending Māori-medium schools (MMS), whichever MMS is chosen will be considered the closest, in recognition of the importance of iwi and hapu affiliation to a Māori-medium education.

 

Please note: students enrolled at a boarding hostel are not eligible for school transport assistance (see Boarding Allowance page for more information).

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

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

 

Years 9-13: at least 4.8km from the school, over the shortest public road or pedestrian route from the home roadside gate to the school's front gate.

3. There must be no 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 a change of buses more than once on a journey.

 

If a suitable public transport option becomes available, the Ministry will give affected schools at least one full term’s notice of the change, and schools are responsible for informing the caregivers of students.

Schools are responsible for determining whether students are eligible for school transport assistance. An application is not required for a place on a school bus. Caregivers should speak to their school’s Bus Controller or another staff member to confirm their child’s eligibility and find out what school transport options are available.

Check out our factsheet for more information.

School Transport Assistance factsheet – Information for caregivers [PDF, 98 KB]

Conveyance allowance

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

Conveyance allowance payments

The rate is assessed on the distance from home to school or the place where the student catches the school bus each day:

  • Daily bus students: $0.27 per km to a maximum of $4.72 per school day, per student.
  • SESTA students: $0.27 per km to a maximum of $20 per school day, per student. If more than one student from the same family is eligible for the SESTA conveyance allowance, and is attending the same school, the maximum payment is $20 per school day.

The conveyance allowance is paid at the end of each quarter, after the Ministry has received the attendance report from the school for that term. The payment dates will vary as conveyance allowance is not paid on fixed dates.

Technology School Conveyance Allowance

Please note:

  • Each quarter has a different number of days which means the amount received each term will be different as there are more school days in some quarters than others.
  • Caregivers do not have to reapply each year for conveyance allowance. Payments will continue until there is a change in circumstances such as: change in residential address, change in enrolled school, change in banking information. Please notify us as soon as there is a change in your student’s circumstances.

Applications for conveyance allowance

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

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.

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 a place on a school bus within their chosen school’s Transport Eligibility Zone (TEZ). Caregivers are not entitled to a Conveyance Allowance in this situation.

In these cases, the Ministry uses its eligibility criteria again to see if your child qualifies for assistance. Your child will be assessed based on the distance between the chosen school and its Transport Eligibility Zone boundary.

Your child’s school will let you know if your child qualifies for transport assistance.

Please note that parents or caregivers are responsible for transporting their child to the pick-up/drop-off bus stop within their chosen school’s Transport Eligibility Zone. This bus stop must be an existing school bus stop.

Check out our factsheet for more information.

Transfer of Eligibility factsheet [PDF, 105 KB]

Ineligible students

In some situations, students who aren’t eligible for school transport assistance may be able to access a Ministry-funded school bus service, at the discretion of the transport provider. This is a private arrangement between transport providers and caregivers. The Ministry cannot require any of its providers to carry ineligible students. 

Transport providers can only carry ineligible students if:

  • no eligible students are disadvantaged, and all students (both eligible and ineligible) are seated
  • prior written consent has been obtained from any schools that are being bypassed by the ineligible student
  • the vehicle does not deviate from the contracted route to pick up ineligible students
  • the ineligible students and their caregivers are advised of the conditions of transportation and acknowledge these conditions in writing.

The transport provider may charge ineligible students a fare. The provider determines the amount and method of payment. 

Transport Eligibility Zone

A Transport Eligibility Zone (TEZ) is used to determine what is the closest school for students. Ministry-funded school bus routes are designed to run within TEZs. Most boundaries are set at the half-way point (by road) between schools of the same type i.e. between state secondary schools. If a school has students that range between Years 1-13, then they may have multiple TEZs (as different year levels have different distance criteria to meet and there may be different types of schools in the area).

The difference between an Enrolment Zone and a Transport Eligibility Zone is in how the boundaries of the two zones is set. School enrolment zones are geographically defined areas around schools. They are designed to prevent schools from becoming overcrowded.

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