School Transport Assistance
Information on School Transport Assistance, including eligibility criteria, conveyance allowances and Transfer of Eligibility.
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- Eligibility criteria for school transport assistance (daily bus and conveyance allowance)
- Conveyance allowance
- Transfer of eligibility
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.
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.
- There are no public transport options available.
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.
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) (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 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:
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.
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.
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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