Mainstream Students

Rural pics 001

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

To be eligible for transport assistance, a student must travel to their school at least three days in a five-day school week.

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.

Public transport areas

A student must reside outside of a designated Public Transport Area to be eligible for Transport Assistance.
The PTA 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 entitled to any special school bus services. Their entitlements are limited to travel at a concession fare rate on the Government subsidised and controlled public transport network.

However, in some unusual circumstances a student may be picked up by a contract school bus inside a Public Transport Area and if so the student would be considered a complimentary fare paying passenger and generally be charged a fare to travel on the contract school bus.

WA Public Transport Area maps

The Government’s policy is that eligible Rural Students are entitled to Transport Assistance in respect of travel to their nearest appropriate school. 

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. 

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

Parents/carers of young children 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.

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 need to: 

  • 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 that includes full-time TAFE/RTO, or a part-time school/part-time TAFE/RTO requirement. This includes eligible non-government school students with Notices of Arrangement 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.

  • Enrol in a Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program, to the government school offering GATE or 

  • Enrol in a rural Approved Specialist Programs (ASP), to the local schools offering them ASP, as approved and published by the Department of Education.


Parents/carers of students who wish to apply for transport assistance as per these changed entitlements will need to provide appropriate additional documents (as outlined below) to support their application for transport assistance:

Notice of Arrangement

A Notice of Arrangement issued by the Department of Education needs to be produced for all government and non-government students engaged in an acceptable alternative education program under the Raised School Leaving Age (RSLA) will be necessary to support the student transport assistance application.

Curriculum Pathways and Programs to Suit Their Specific Needs

A signed letter of acceptance from the Regional Executive Director or their delegate (Department of Education) for a student to attend a public secondary school participating in curriculum pathways and programs to suit their specific needs (e.g. senior colleges with special programs such as Manea College, Mandurah Senior Campus) will be necessary to support the student transport assistance application.

Approved Specialist Programs (ASP) Centrally Recognised by the Department of Education

A signed letter of acceptance from the school principal at which the student is enrolled to undertake an Approved Specialist Program.

Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Program

A signed letter of acceptance from the Central Office of the Department of Education for government school students to attend a nominated Gifted and Talented program will be necessary to support the student transport assistance application.

Kindergarten students

Subject to their meeting the eligibility criteria that apply to all rural students, students enrolled in kindergarten may be entitled to transport assistance. See Kindergarten Students Travelling on 'Orange' School Buses

In addition:

  • Parent/carers must agree to the terms and conditions of travel. Please note it is the responsibility of the student’s  parent/carer to decide whether their child is capable of travel.

  • Transport assistance in the form of a conveyance allowance is available to parents/carers of eligible students to drive the kindergarten student to and from school. See Conveyance Allowance section on the website.

Equidistant appropriate schools

In most circumstances, SBS treats schools as being equal distant 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 examples of how the nearest appropriate school policy is applied please read Student Transport Assistance Policy and Operational Guidelines available on About Us page.

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