School transport assistance

Find out if your child is eligible for school transport assistance, and what kind of assistance is available.

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What kind of assistance is available?

School transport assistance is usually a place on a school bus.

If a school bus isn’t available, you might be able to get an allowance to help pay for your child’s transport to school (this is called a conveyance allowance).

Who can get assistance?

Your child must meet all 3 eligibility criteria to get help with transport to school.

First criteria

The school must be the closest that your child can enrol at, and is either:

  • Mainstream state school
  • State-integrated school
  • Partnership school, or
  • Māori-medium school

Note: Māori-medium schools must either deliver Te Reo at Level 1, or at Level 2 and 51% or more of the instruction is in Te Reo.

Second criteria

Your child 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 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 home roadside gate to the school’s front gate).

Third criteria

There must be no suitable public transport options.

What makes public transport "suitable"?

Public transport must travel within:

  • 2.4km of the roadside gate of your home, and
  • 2.4km of the closest appropriate school

Your child:

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

What if suitable public transport becomes available?

Your school will tell you if there won’t be a Ministry-funded service anymore because public transport has become available.


Talk to your child’s school about getting transport assistance.

Routes and stops

Routes are designed by the Ministry of Education, and bus companies decide where the safest stops are along the route.

For information about routes and stops, contact your school, and they’ll put you in touch with the transport service provider.

Safety and behaviour

For tips how to keep children safe, and information about behaviour problems, vehicle safety, and driver safety, see:

Safety and behaviour (Ministry of Education website)

Accidents and incidents

For information about what happens if there’s an accident or incident, see:

Accidents and incidents (Ministry of Education website)

SESTA (Specialised School Transport Assistance)

For information about SESTA, see:

SESTA (Specialised School Transport Assistance)


Talk to your school if you have any questions about school transport.

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