Types of school transport assistance
Information about the different ways school transport assistance is provided, and how it is decided which type of assistance an eligible student will receive. An eligible student’s entitlement, or the actual assistance they receive, depends on the distance from home to the school they attend.
Types of school transport assistance
A direct resourced school is a school whose board of trustees has chosen to receive its schools transport funding directly and to provide its own transport services. You can ask your school whether they are receiving Direct Resourcing funding.
A Māori-medium school is a Kura, Kura Kaupapa Māori, Wharekura or designated character school providing education under Section 155 or 156 of the Education Act 1989. Māori-medium schools receive school transport funding directly and provide their own transport services.
Daily bus/Ministry-contracted bus
This assistance is provided by way of a place on a school bus for eligible students. School buses run on bus routes, for more information about the bus routes and how they are designed see the bus route design page. Minimum numbers are usually required for a bus service to run. Caregivers apply using the School Transport: application for assistance form on the eligibility page. For information about the bus route closest to you, please contact your local service agent.
The Conveyance Allowance is money paid to the caregiver to assist with the costs of transporting students to and from school when no other suitable form of transport is available. Where eligible students live a considerable distance from a Ministry bus route, they may also be paid a conveyance allowance to get to the bus route. Further information on the conveyance allowance can be found below.
Special Education School Transport Assistance (SESTA)
SESTA is intended to help students who, because of their special needs, do not have ready access to education at their nearest school or the nearest school that is able to meet their special education needs. Assistance may be provided in the form of a place on a school bus, a place on a contracted special education transport service or a conveyance allowance. In some instances, the Ministry may be able to assist with specialist equipment involved in transporting SESTA students.
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What distance will a student receive assistance for?
The distance for which an eligible student receives assistance depends on which school they attend – the nearest appropriate school or a different school. If the student attends the nearest appropriate school, their entitlement is calculated from their home to the school. If the student attends a different school, their entitlement is calculated from the boundary of the school’s Transport Entitlement Zone (TEZ) (see Fact Sheet 2: What if a student doesn’t attend the nearest school? on the Factsheets page).
School transport is a shared responsibility between the Ministry and the caregiver, and the Ministry does not necessarily provide a door-to-door service for eligible students. This means that bus students may be expected to make their own way or be conveyed by the caregiver for up to 1.6 kilometres from the home or TEZ boundary to the bus service. Similarly, caregivers in receipt of a conveyance allowance are not subsidised for the first 2.4km of each journey.
Daily Funding Programme: school bus or conveyance allowance?
New Zealand has a very good safety record for school buses, and for this reason the Ministry of Education supports transport assistance in the form of school buses where possible. If a Ministry-administered bus service is available, or the service agent considers it appropriate to extend or establish a bus service, the eligible student is offered a place on a school bus. However, sometimes students will live in areas where school buses do not run, in which case a conveyance allowance is paid to the caregiver to assist with the cost of transporting the student.
The following guidelines are usually followed to decide what type of assistance an eligible student will get within the transport entitlement zone of the school attended:
- If there is a school bus route running within 2.4km of the student’s home: assistance will be a place on a school bus.
- If there is no school bus route running in the area: assistance will be a conveyance allowance to assist with the cost of transporting the student from their entitlement location to school and back.
- If there is a school bus route in the area but student lives more than 2.4km from the route: assistance will be a conveyance allowance to assist with the cost of transporting the student from their home to the bus, and also a place on the school bus. Note that the first 2.4km of the journey is unpaid.
How to apply
To apply for the daily funding programme, parents need to fill out an application form – the School Transport: application for assistance or the Special Education School Transport Assistance Form available on the eligibility page. When filling in this form, caregivers need to complete bank account details and attach a pre-printed deposit slip or a deposit slip authorised by the bank. They must name one bank account only.
If the bank account changes, the caregiver who originally signed the application form needs to notify the service agent in writing, again with a pre-printed or bank-authorised deposit slip.
Caregivers also need to notify the service agent, the school’s principal or bus controller if they change address or the child leaves the school, so that the allowance can be reassessed.
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Conveyance Allowance: further information
One Conveyance Allowance per household
Where there is more than one student in a household eligible for a conveyance allowance, only one conveyance allowance will be paid to that household and a family rate will apply. If the students are attending different schools, the amount paid will be based on the distance to the furthest school.
Calculating the Conveyance Allowance
The conveyance allowance is based on a daily rate, and is calculated based on the following factors:
- the number of eligible students in a household. If more than one student is eligible, a family rate will apply
- the distance from the student’s home or the Transport Entitlement Zone boundary - to the school or the school bus stop. No allowance is paid for the first 2.4km. If caregivers travel to more than one place, the allowance is based on the most distant destination
- the number of school days in the quarter
- the number of daily trips: for example student drivers (driving with the school board or principal’s written approval) receive half the allowance because they make only one return trip each day.
To find out the daily rates for the conveyance allowance, please contact your local service agent (link to contact page).
The conveyance allowance is paid in arrears four times a year, within four to five weeks following the end of each quarter. The quarters are 1 January to 31 March, 1 April to 30 June, 1 July to 30 September, and 1 October to 31 December. The Ministry of Education credits the caregivers’ bank accounts.
The quarters are not the same as school terms. For example, if Term 1 runs from 29 January to 11 April, the first quarterly payment is for the school days from 29 January to 31 March. The second quarterly payment is for the school days between 1 April to 30 June; it may not cover the whole of Term 2.
No split payments
Payments can not be split among different caregivers’ bank accounts. For example, if two caregivers are separated or divorced and they transport their child on different days, it is up to the caregivers as to how they will share the allowance once it is paid to the one account.
Payment to nominated account
The Conveyance Allowance can be paid to someone else. Caregivers who arrange a car pool for students from more than one household can choose to have the allowance paid to someone else, for example to the driver of the car. In this case each family’s allowance is calculated separately, and the person nominated receives the total. Each caregiver involved in this kind of agreement needs to notify the school’s service agent in writing, again with a pre-printed or bank-authorised deposit slip.