School transport

We provide free school transport for qualifying children, in accordance with its statutory obligations as an Education Authority. Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) organise school contracts on our behalf. In providing this service the care and welfare of the pupils are key to the whole process.


Free school transport is provided using the following criteria:

  • All assessments are based on your child’s main address
  • Your child lives more than two miles walking distance from their catchment primary school using the shortest safe walking route
  • Your child lives three or more miles from their catchment secondary school using the shortest safe walking route
  • Your child has been recommended for free school transport as a result of health issues which may prevent them walking to school safely. Applications on health grounds must be supported by a letter from your child’s own doctor which can be emailed to or posted/hand delivered to South Ayrshire Council, Educational Services, County buildings, Wellington Square, Ayr KA7 1DR
  • Your child’s walking route is considered to be unacceptable by us after consultation with the Ayrshire Roads Alliance Road Safety Section

Please note that if your child is attending school as a result of a successful placing request no transport will be provided.

When to apply

  • If your child is starting primary school or secondary school, you should apply by April of that year
  • Applications can be made after this date; however, this could result in a delay in arrangements being made
  • If you move house during the year you should notify your child’s school, in writing, at least two weeks prior to moving

Privileged seat information

Where there are vacant seats on a “dedicated” school contract i.e. for school pupils only, such seats are referred to as privilege seats.

  • Privileged seats will be allocated, where space is available, from October each year.
  • The provision of the privileged seat will cease at the end of the school year or earlier should an entitled pupil require a place on the bus/taxi
  • Should the number of applications exceed the number of privileged seats available, agreed criteria will be used to determine the successful applicants
  • You are required to submit a new application for a privileged seat every school session.

Transport provided

Free school transport may be provided by:

  • A dedicated school contract bus for pupils only.
  • A bus pass for a local service bus which may also carry members of the public
  • A train pass
  • A taxi, private hire car or minibus

Journeys covered

  • Free school transport normally covers one journey to school in the morning from the child’s main address and home at the end of the school day.
  • Parents of the pupils wishing to return home for lunch are responsible for making their own arrangements. Special arrangements are made locally, where possible, for the pupils taking part in school activities after the end of the normal school day.

Application form

Complete application online

School transport application form

How to apply if you have no online access

If you do not have access to complete this form online we can complete the online form on your behalf. This can be done by contacting our Education Transport Team on 01292 612408/612285 during the hours of 10:00am - 12:00pm and 14:00pm - 16:00pm on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday only..

What happens after you apply?

You will be informed by Educational Services by letter of the outcome of your application. Staff at County Buildings, Ayr will be happy to discuss this or any other matter connected with your child's application with you.


We expect you to ensure that your child behaves properly and safely when boarding, travelling on the transport and alighting from it. As parents you are responsible for ensuring that your child arrives at the pick-up point on time.


We expect all children to behave properly and safely when boarding, during the journey to and from school and alighting from school transport. Misbehaviour could result in your child losing the right to free school transport.

Where children misbehave, the driver may retain their tickets/travel passes to confirm the identity of those involved. The incident will then be reported to the driver's supervisor. Details will be sent to the Head Teacher and parents/carers will be contacted by the school for assurance on their children's good conduct prior to the return of the ticket/travel pass. During this period parents/carers will be responsible for making their own arrangements for the attendance of their child at school.

If you need to know more or would like to complain

If you have any enquiries about the eligibility of your child for free school transport you should contact Educational Services.

In the first instance parents/carers who have any concerns or a complaint relating to the provision of free school transport should contact the school their child attends and provide details of their concern/complaint which will then be recorded and submitted to SPT.

SPT is responsible for awarding primary and secondary school contracts and for their day to day operation. SPT actively monitors the performance of school transport contracts through the deployment of a team of specialist inspectors. To assist in monitoring SPT welcomes comments or concerns from schools or from parents.


If you wish to appeal against any decision made regarding your application for school transport you should do so in writing to Educational Services within 10 working days of receipt of the decision, indicating the grounds on which you wish to make your appeal.

Educational Services

Educational Services
Pupil Services
County Buildings
Wellington Square


Tel: 01292 612284