School transport

We provide free school transport in the following situations:

  • Where a child is enrolled in his/her zoned primary school, and lives two miles or more from that school.
  • Where a child is enrolled at his/her zoned secondary school, and lives three or more miles from that school.

The only exceptions to this policy are:

  • Where a child lives less than the prescribed distance from his/her zoned school (that is, less than the two or three miles indicated above) but cannot reach that school either by an available transport service or by an available safe walking route accompanied if necessary by an adult.
  • Where a child lives less than the prescribed distance from his/her zoned primary or secondary school (that is, less than the two or three miles indicated above), does not have access to a transport service, and is unable to walk the prescribed safe route due to his/her own medical condition or to the medical condition of the adult who would normally accompany him/her on the walking route to school.

It should be noted, in relation to the above, that the Education Authority, in determining whether or not a safe walking route exists, will take expert advice from the Police or other qualified road safety practitioners. In the case of medical conditions it will seek the opinion of the Family General Practitioner or School Medical staff, as appropriate before any final decision to support a request is made.

  • Where a child lives less than the prescribed (two or three miles) from his/her zoned school on the Contract (i.e. School) Bus route to that school, and there exist(s) space(s) on the existing Contract (i.e. School) Bus Service. In such cases, a child may be granted free transport on a privilege basis, only for as long as there is a space, and it is not required by an entitled child.

Apply for free school transport

You can apply for free school transport online.

Please ensure you enter all details accurately and please ensure the details entered for a child match the details used in their school enrolment.

Appealing a school transport application decision

If you would like to appeal against a school transport application decision, you can do this by emailing the following:

  • For mainstream and college applications, please contact:
  • For exceptional circumstances and Additional Support Needs applications, please contact:

We cannot accept appeals by phone.

Frequently asked questions

If my child is accepted for an out-of-zone school, will he/she be entitled to free transport to and from school?

It is at the discretion of the Education Authority whether or not to grant free transport in such cases. Only in exceptional circumstances (such as medical reasons) will the Authority exercise this discretion.

The Education (Scotland) Act 1996 places a duty on Education Authorities to give consideration to any safety implications involved when granting out-of-zone placing requests, but nevertheless leaves the decision at the discretion of the Education Authority.

Where the Local Authority has placed a child in a school which is not his/her zoned school, transport will be provided to the school if it is more than two miles from the address of which the child is ordinarily resident (primary) or more than three miles (secondary).

How will the school transport be delivered?

Free transport may be provided in various ways, either by the use of local bus services or season tickets for use on trains or by direct provision of contracted transport, by the Passenger Transport Unit, on behalf of the Education Authority. In certain isolated and exceptional circumstances financial payments may be made directly to parents to transport their own children, but again, this is restricted to areas where other more normal methods of transport provision are impossible.

The Education Authority does not guarantee to provide "door to door" transport. In certain instances, children may be required to walk up to two or three miles as appropriate.

For children who will be using local bus services, children are asked to apply for a new National Entitlement Card (NEC) under the Scottish Government Young Persons’ (Under 22s) Free Bus Travel Scheme. Apply for free bus travel and find out more information here.

Will my child get free school transport if my placing request is accepted?

No. Parents who have made successful Placing Requests for their children to attend a school other than the school serving their area have to make their own home to school transport arrangements for their children.

How does my child qualify for free school transport?

If your child is attending the school designated by the council and s/he would have to walk more than two miles (primary school) or three miles (secondary school) to get there, s/he will be entitled to free school transport.

Do I need to apply every year for free school transport?

Yes, you need to apply every year. The number of children entitled to free transport varies from year to year, so a pupil's place on free school transport is only valid for the current school session.

For more information about school transport, please phone 03000 200 293 or email

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