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Free school transport
Home   Education and learning   Getting to and from school   Free school transport

Free school transport

North Ayrshire Council provides free school transport when your child is enrolled in their catchment school but:

  • for primary pupils - lives 2 miles, or more, from their school by the shortest, safest walking route
  • for secondary pupils - lives 3 miles, or more, from their school by the shortest, safest walking route

Find your school catchment area, enter your postcode in YourLocation.

We may approve free school transport if circumstances meet one of the requirements of our School Transport Policy (PDF, 368kb). For example, medical suitability or transport for additional support needs

If your child doesn't qualify, you may be able to apply for a 'privilege seat' if there is space.

What we provide

Free school transport normally covers 1 return journey a day (at the start and end of a normal school day).

Transport can be:

  • a dedicated school bus 
  • a bus or train pass on a local service (timetabled and carrying members of the public)
  • taxi, private hire, minibus or ferry

When and how to apply

Submit applications at the following times: 

  • Primary school pupils - apply at enrolment
  • Secondary school pupils - apply during transition in Primary 7 to secondary. We'll include a form in the transition pack.
  • changes in circumstance, e.g. moving house - at least 2 weeks notice

Late applications can delay provision of free school transport.

Please read our School Transport Policy (PDF, 368kb). Then complete and return a Free school transport application (Word, 51kb).

What happens next?

Until a decision is made, parents/carers will be responsible for making arrangements for transport of their child. We will notify you, in writing, of the outcome of your application. Either:

  • 2 weeks before the start of the school year, or
  • within 2 weeks of application for mid session applications.

We may need to ask for more information, or carry out a Road Suitability Assessment which could delay the outcome. 

For pick up and drop off point and times, telephone Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) on 0141 333 3362

Please make sure that your child is aware of the safety and acceptable behaviour terms. These are included in the Terms and Conditions of free school transport provision.


If required, bus passes are normally issued, through the school, at the start of the school year.

Lost passes

Contact SPT if your child has lost their bus pass. There may be a charge for a replacement.

Appeal a decision

If you are unhappy about a decision, please write to:

Transport Manager
Unit 1D, Byrehill Drive
West Byrehill Industrial Estate
KA13 6HN

Contract monitoring

SPT monitors school contracts and checks that drivers are performing within their Code of Conduct.

Complaints procedure

If you have any concerns or complaints about the provision of free school transport, please contact your child's school. Complaint details will be recorded and submitted online to SPT for investigation. Parent/carers may also complain directly to SPT in writing. 

Contact Transport Hub



01294 541613


Transport Hub, Unit 1D Byrehill Drive, Byrehill Industrial Estate, Kilwinning KA13 6HN