Skip to main content

Apply for a School Drive Subsidy

The School Drive Subsidy is available in areas where there is limited or no public transport. The subsidy is intended to partly offset the cost of using a private vehicle to drive the eligible student all or part of the way to school.

Note: School Drive Subsidy is not intended for families who opt to drive their students to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This page is only for new applications. If you have already applied for the School Drive Subsidy, log in to the School Drive Subsidy Parent Portal to:

  • track the status of your application.
  • see details of your journeys and payments.
  • submit a change application if
    • you need to add another student to the application.
    • one of the students reaches the end of Year 6 or Year 12.
    • the school trip changes because you move homes or a student changes schools.

Things to know before applying

You only need to apply if you're applying for the School Drive Subsidy for the first time.

The student must:

  • be a resident of NSW, or an overseas student eligible for free government education.
  • be aged 4 years 6 months or older and enrolled full-time in school or TAFE (pre-school children are not eligible).
  • live in an area where there is limited or no public transport.
  • live more than the minimum distance to school (the minimum distance varies according to the year or grade the child is enrolled in).

Where public transport is available at the prescribed minimum distance from home, eligible students may also be entitled to a free school travel pass.

Kindergarten to Year 6

  • The distance to school exceeds 1.6 km (straight line distance) or is at least 2.3 km walking distance, and
  • The distance to the nearest transport pick up point (where available) exceeds 1.6 km (straight line distance) or is at least 2.3 km walking distance.

Year 7 to Year 12

  • The distance to school exceeds 2 km (straight line distance) or 2.9 km walking distance, and
  • The distance to the nearest transport pick up point (where available) exceeds 2 km (straight line distance) or is at least 2.9 km walking distance.

TAFE students

  • The distance to the nearest transport pick up point (where available) exceeds 2 km (straight line distance) or is at least 2.9 km walking distance.

TAFE students must:

  • be under 18 years of age at 1 January of the year of application
  • be enrolled in a full-time TAFE course, such as a course with a duration of 12 weeks or more for a minimum of 16 hours per week
  • not be employed
  • be attending the TAFE nearest their home at which enrolment is available.

Boarding school students

If no public transport is available, boarding school students are eligible for subsidised travel between the family home and school at weekends and school holidays. Trips can be for various purposes during school time, including students attending a school event or sick students travelling home.

Students who board in town and attend a day school during term may also be eligible for subsidised travel between the family home and the place of boarding at weekends and school holidays.

  • Students that are weekly boarders are entitled up to 22 trips per semester
  • Students that are term boarders are entitled up to 9 trips per year

Journeying to school at the beginning of the week or term and journeying back home at the end of the week or term is counted as one overall trip for a boarding school student.

There is no subsidy cap on the distance travelled.

Distance education students attending mini-schools:

The NSW Department of Education runs a number of distance education centres (or mini-schools).

Students are eligible for the School Drive Subsidy if they are enrolled at a distance education centre (or mini-school) in accordance with section 2.2 of the Distance Education Enrolment Procedures set out by the NSW Department of Education.

There is no limit to the number of trips that can be claimed to attend mini-schools during term time (subject to school attendance records being checked).

Completing the form

  • The form needs to be completed in one session, you will not be able to save a partly completed form.
  • If additional information needs to accompany the application the documents should be prepared or scanned before starting the online application.
  • You need to give us details of your school journey (driving all your eligible students) on the application form.
  • You will need a valid email address as we will notify you by email of the outcome of your application.
  • You will need your bank account details.
  • Applications must be made by a parent or legal guardian (even if the student is aged 16 years or over).

Please also note:

  • If our system isn't able to recognise your residential street address (for example, if you don't have a street number), you will be prompted to enter the Lot number, DP (Deposited Plan) number and Section number (if applicable) of your home in your application.
  • Subsidy payments can only be made into the parent/guardian's own bank account, not into an account held by a third party (e.g. a bus operator hired by parents from pooled resources or a school).

Applications must be submitted by:

  • the last day of Term 2 for semester one payments, or
  • the last day of Term 4 for semester two payments.

Apply for School Drive Subsidy

Paper forms

If you don't have access to the Internet you can ask at the school to download and print a paper application form (pdf 215KB). Once the form is completed and signed, please hand the form (with both pages stapled together or printed double-sided) to your School or TAFE for validation.


Things to know after applying

Terms and Conditions apply to Transport for NSW's School Drive Subsidy.

Step 1

After you have applied, we will notify you by email if your application has been "provisionally approved".

This means that the student has been approved, subject to us receiving:

  • confirmation of school enrolment and
  • the student's attendance record from the school at the end of the semester.

If your situation or your school journey is complex, it can take extra time for your application to be assessed. This will not affect the start of payments, as payments are made at the end each semester based on attendance data provided by schools.

    Step 2

    We calculate the distance of your approved journey from home to school (or to the nearest transport pick-up point).

    You'll be able to see this in the School Drive Subsidy Parent Portal. You don't need to do anything further.

    Step 3

    At the end of the semester (June or December), before a payment is calculated, the student's school will advise us:

    • the child’s enrolment
    • the child's attendance at school

    Based on this information, we can work out how much your subsidy payment will be. The amount paid is based on:

    • the distance of your regular school trip
    • a flat rate per kilometre (which changes each year)
    • each eligible student's school attendance.

    Refer to  Guide to School Drive Subsidy to see how payments are calculated.

    Step 4

    After we have calculated your subsidy amount for the preceding semester, we'll pay it into your nominated bank account.

    You'll receive a subsidy payment twice a year after the end of the semester, usually in February and August.

    Payments are made until a student comes to the end of Year 6 or Year 12. You will then have to apply again for any remaining students, as your journey is likely to change.

    If you are notified the application did not meet the eligibility criteria, and if you believe there are special circumstances why you should be eligible for a subsidy, you can request a review of the decision from Transport for NSW by logging in to the School Drive Subsidy Parent Portal.

    Transport for NSW can conduct a review of an unsuccessful application under the following circumstances:

    • The pedestrian infrastructure between the student's home and school is unsuitable for safe walking.
    • The student does not meet the walking distance criteria but has a medical condition which prevents them from walking; or there is an available transport service but the student has a condition that precludes them travelling by public transport. An SSTS medical report and certificate (pdf 278KB) must be included with your review request when seeking an exemption on medical grounds.

    Note:

    Reviews can only be made when the student is not approved because they do not meet the minimum distance criteria, not other mandatory criteria (e.g. visa requirements).

    When transport services are available, Transport for NSW cannot consider the following:

    • Perceptions of personal safety in relation to walking routes or transport modes or while waiting at bus stops or rail stations, as these factors are outside the scope of the scheme.
    • The School Drive Subsidy cannot be provided as an option instead of subsidised travel on public transport. When determining the suitability of existing public transport services, we cannot take into consideration personal convenience, the length of the journey or the age of the student.

    The supervision of children to and from school is the responsibility of their parents and guardians. The decision as to whether a child is driven to school or uses available public transport services rests entirely with the parent or guardian. However, where public transport is available the cost of travel in a private vehicle cannot be subsidised.

    The review process

    Transport for NSW assesses each application on its individual merits. It will take into account:

    • The original assessment of the straight line/walking distances between the student's home and school or nearest public transport pick up point.
    • The walking route the student will take to travel between home and school, and between home and the nearest transport pickup point. This is assessed against the Guidelines for Determining the Safety of a Walking Route to School.
    • Any medical condition and supporting evidence.
    • Any other special circumstances.

    If we determine that the student is eligible for the School Drive Subsidy, we will advise you of our decision by email once our review is complete.

    How to request a review

    To request a review:

    • Log into the Parent Portal
    • Click on the 'Claim special circumstances' button.

    You will be asked to provide supporting documentation. This should be uploaded and attached to your request for a review.

    You can opt to send the documentation later. It is your responsibility to provide this documentation to Transport for NSW.

    Send to:

    Transport for NSW Concessions office
    PO Box K659
    Haymarket NSW 1240

    Make sure to include the application ID with your documentation.

    If the student has a medical condition that prevents them from travelling by public transport, you should complete and submit an SSTS medical report and certificate (pdf 278KB) with your application.

    Initial applications on medical grounds may be approved for up to 12 months with the form completed by your general practitioner.

    Subsequent applications require a more comprehensive report from a medical specialist demonstrating how the student's medical condition prevents him/her from walking to and from the bus stop or prevents the student from travelling by public transport. Subsidised travel on medical grounds does not apply to a one-off injury or a minor, temporary or irregular condition.

    If other special circumstances apply (e.g. pedestrian safety concerns), you will need to attach supporting evidence with your application. If you're applying online, you can attach this electronically as part of the online process.

    In a shared parental responsibility situation (e.g. joint custody), a student is eligible for subsidised travel from both the parents' addresses, subject to meeting the normal eligibility criteria.

    The School Drive Subsidy for eligible students who are in a Shared Parental Responsibility is paid to each parent/guardian on a percentage basis of the overall actual attendance days provided by the child's/children's school.

    A separate School Drive Subsidy application should be made by each parent for each address.

    You may need to provide a court order or statutory declaration to Transport for NSW (TfNSW) for shared parental responsibility situations.

    If you are in a shared parental responsibility situation and you change your address, you must submit a change application through the Parent Portal.