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Overview for Parents and Carers

While parents/carers are primarily responsible for getting their children to and from school, the Student Transport Assistance Policy, administered by School Bus Services, provides travel assistance to eligible students in rural and remote Western Australia.

For eligible students there are two types of travel available. This may include access to the ‘Orange’ School Bus service, or the payment of a Conveyance Allowance to assist with subsidising the cost of private vehicle travel, or a combination of both.

To be eligible for Transport Assistance, a rural student attending a mainstream school must, under normal circumstances:

  • Be enrolled at their Nearest Appropriate School,
  • Be enrolled in a pre-compulsory or compulsory education period,
  • Regularly attend their school and use the 'Orange' School Bus approved for that student,.
  • Reside more than 4.5 km from their school, and
  • Reside outside designated Public Transport Area.

Enrolment at Nearest Appropriate School

To be eligible for Transport Assistance a student must be attending their nearest appropriate school. This means:

  • In the case of government schools, one that provides an appropriate year of study for the student.
  • In the case of non-government schools, one that provides an appropriate year of study for the student and also provides an appropriate religious denomination or ethos for that student.

Please note:

Special programs or specialised subjects that may be offered by certain schools (e.g. aeronautics, cricket, and drama) are not taken into account when assessing eligibility for Transport Assistance.

Regular Attendance

Regular attendance, for Eligible Students, means the student intends to travel to and from school every day on which the school requires the student to attend, and actually travels on average at least 60% of those days.

Distance to School

Reside more than 4.5km from their school. The distance between a student’s residence and their school is measured by the shortest practical road route. Where relevant, the measurement of distance from a student’s residence is taken from the gate or point of entrance/exit on the property on which the residence stands that is nearest to the school.

Where a student has shared living arrangements, eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Equidistant Appropriate Schools

In most circumstances, School Bus Services treats schools as being equal distance for practical purposes if the distance variance between them in relation to a student’s residence is less than or equal to 2.5km.

For more information and examples on how the nearest appropriate school policy is applied, please refer to the Student Transport Assistance Policy.

Public Transport Areas

A student must reside outside of a designated Public Transport Area to be eligible for Transport Assistance.
The Public Transport Authority designates ‘Public Transport Areas’, students living within these areas have reasonable access to a public transport network.

Students residing within these Public Transport Areas and attending mainstream schools are not eligible to any special school bus services. A concession fare rate is available for these students on the government subsidised and controlled public transport network.

WA Public Transport Area Maps

Full terms and conditions of eligibility are set out in the Student Transport Assistance Policy.


In August 2022, the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee released the Bus Fair Report – the report of the inquiry into the Student Transport Assistance Policy (STAP). Following the recommendations made by the Report, the Minister for Transport approved several amendments to the School Bus eligibility criteria.

The below criteria were effective from Term 1, 2024 of the school calendar year. Further information on eligibility criteria can be found in the Student Transport Assistance Policy.

Secondary School Election Rule

From 2024, where a student completes Year 6 at a primary school without secondary year levels offered, they are eligible for transport assistance to either their nearest appropriate senior high school or nearest appropriate district high school for Years 7 to 12.

At the request of the Department for Education the Election Rule has been deferred until 2025 for Wandering Primary School, Coorow Primary School, Bindoon Primary School, Lancelin Primary School, Kukerin Primary School, Calingiri Primary School and Yerecoin Primary School. For these primary schools the current eligibility and complimentary rules will apply for the 2024 school year.

Refer to "Nearest Appropriate School" in the Student Transport Assistance Policy for further information.

School Local-Intake Areas

Eligibility rules have been amended to remove the disconnect between Nearest Appropriate School and a student’s requirement to enrol at a school with a ‘local-intake area’.

In consultation with the Department of Education, students attending a government school where they reside within the local intake area will be assessed as Eligible. Transport Assistance may be by way of an orange school bus or conveyance allowance.

Refer to "School Local-Intake Areas" in the Student Transport Assistance Policy for further information.

Regional Town Transport Boundaries

Where an application for student transport assistance is approved to a school located within a Regional City or Town where there is a designated Public Transport Area (eg Bunbury, Albany), eligibility will now be extended to where there are multiple schools of the same type – Government (public), Non-Government (private or independent) and Faith-based within the transport boundary. 

Eligibility will be determined by distance to the requested school being greater than 4.5km from the student’s residence.

Where the transport solution includes the Regional Town Service the transfer will be at a designated location and student will be required to pay the student concession fare.

Refer to "Public Transport Areas" in the Student Transport Assistance Policy for further information.

Social, Economic, Financial and Community Factors

In rural and regional areas, a nearest appropriate school for transport assistance purposes might not be the same town or centre where a family has well established for social, working, health care and community recreational networks, where this town also has a school.

When determining nearest appropriate school, where a family resides a similar distance (up to 5 kms) from two or more schools, consideration will be given to social, economic, financial and community factors.

All transport solutions will be bound by the defining principle of no adverse impacts on the broader cohort of travelling students in the region attending their nearest appropriate school.

This means where families reside outside the traditional catchment area for a school bus, transport assistance may be in the form of a conveyance allowance to meet the bus on route or the payment of a conveyance to drive a student to school where no service exists.

Evaluation of eligibility under this rule may require families to provide written evidence to support their claim. Refer to "Social, Economic, Financial and Community Factors" in the Student Transport Assistance Policy for further information.


The Student Transport Assistance Policy provides Transport Assistance for eligible Rural and Regional Students to travel to their nearest appropriate school.

Within designated Public Transport Areas, students attending mainstream schools are not entitled to any ‘Orange’ School Bus service, their entitlement is to travel at a concession fare rate on the Government subsidised and controlled public transport network.

Types of Transport Assistance

A student entitled to Transport Assistance may receive:

  • Transport by an ‘Orange’ School Bus; and/or
  • A conveyance allowance, paid to the parent/carer.

School Bus Services will determine which form of transport assistance is appropriate and made available to individual students. Transport is usually by contract school bus. Where this is not possible or impractical, School Bus Services may offer the payment of a conveyance allowance. Only in exceptional circumstances will other forms of transport assistance be considered.

Parents/carers of young students must be present at the bus stop until they board the bus and must be present at the bus stop when they alight from the bus. Parents/carers failure to be present and supervise these students at the bus stop each morning and afternoon without good reason may have their Transport Assistance withdrawn.

Further detail surrounding the Student Transport Assistance Policy framework principles and objectives can be found here.

Year 11 and 12 Students

All rural students that have local district high schools, are provided with the choice of transport assistance to senior high schools for Year 11 and 12 (90 minute rule to apply).

A choice of transport assistance is provided to all rural secondary students in Years 11 and 12 who:

  • Enrol outside their local public secondary school to participate in curriculum pathways and programs to suit their specific needs (e.g. to attend senior colleges such as Manea College, Mandurah Senior Campus); or
  • Engage in an acceptable alternative education program with Notices of Arrangement (NOA) that includes full-time TAFE/RTO, or a part-time school/part-time TAFE/RTO requirement. This includes eligible non-government school students with NOA but excludes any students at government or non-government schools undertaking full-time employment. Complimentary passenger status may be offered to students undertaking traineeship/apprentices attending TAFE/RTO.
  • Formal Exemption from enrolment re-engaging a student with education in an approved education or training program

For more information on any of the above dot points, please refer to the Student Transport Assistance Policy.

Year 7 to 10 Students

A choice of transport assistance is provided to all rural secondary students in Years 7 to 10 who meet other eligibility criteria and are selected for:

  • Approved Specialist Programs (ASPs) applied only to ASPs. approved and published by the Department of Education.
  • Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) programs, to select schools

These applications must include a signed letter of acceptance from the School Principal or Department of Education.

Kindergarten Students

Eligible kindergarten students may be entitled to transport assistance.

Note that approval of a younger student’s entitlement to travel on an 'Orange' School Bus does not imply that it would be appropriate for the student to travel unaccompanied.

For younger students, it is the responsibility for the parent/carer to decide whether the student is capable of school bus travel. Parent/carer responsibility acknowledgement required for transport assistance applications. If the decision is the student is not capable, conveyance allowance is available if eligible.

Full terms and conditions of eligibility are set out in the Student Transport Assistance Policy.

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