Eligibility for school transport assistance

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

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • 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.


Transcript: School Transport Assistance video

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, 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 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.

Check out our factsheet for more information.

School Transport Assistance factsheet - Information for caregivers [PDF, 93 KB]

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 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 chosen 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 the 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, 99 KB]

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 a 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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