School Bus Program

The School Bus Program is an extensive school bus network that provides travel at no cost to eligible students attending government and non-government schools and living in rural and regional Victoria. Students deemed ineligible to travel at no cost may access a school bus service upon payment of a fare. 

The school bus network is administered by Public Transport Victoria (PTV) and carries over 70,000 students each school day on approximately 1,500 school bus routes.

Who can travel on the School Bus Program?

The Department of Education and Training (DET) sets the policy governing eligibility to travel on the School Bus Program. The policy covers students attending both government and non-government schools in regional and rural communities.

Further information regarding the School Bus Program policy, School and Parent resources and Emergency Management Operational Guidelines can be located for:

Students at government schools

To be eligible for free school bus transport, the student must attend the nearest government primary or secondary school and must live at least 4.8 kilometres from the school.

Students at non-government schools

For students to be eligible for free travel to and from school by bus, they must attend the nearest non-government school and may be permitted to travel on an existing school bus service, provided there is space available on the bus.

Applying for travel on an existing service

If students wish to use an existing school bus service to and from their school, they should fill out an application form which they can obtain from their school. The completed form is then returned to the school, which will advise the student whether or not they are eligible to use the service.

Please refer to the School Bus Program policy for detailed eligibility and application policy.  Further information on the School Bus Program can be found at the DET website.

New rural school bus services

For a new school bus service to start, a school must submit an application to DET. The application must include details of the eligible students and the proposed route map. A minimum of 15 eligible students (11 of whom must be attending a government school) is required for consideration to be given to a new service. Once the service has been approved, Public Transport Victoria makes the appropriate arrangements for the introduction of the new route including contracting a bus operator to provide the service.

Services for children with special needs

DET provides free bus services for children with special needs who attend special and development schools.

Students with a mobility disability who attend other government or non-government schools should make their school aware of their special needs when they submit their application to use a school bus to their school.

Further information on the Students with Disabilities Transport Program can be found at the DET website.

School bus stop frequently asked questions

Find out more information about school bus stops:

Download the School Bus Stop Q & A's (PDF) 366kB

Download the School Bus Stop Q & A's - accessible version (DOC) 437kB

More information

If you require more information:

School Bus Centre Review Program

School bus services across Victoria are regularly reviewed by Public Transport Victoria (PTV) to ensure the program is functioning as efficiently and effectively as possible in accordance with the Department of Education and Training (DET) policy.

Lists of reviews

Click on the links below to view the list of schools participating in the reviews:

Review guidelines and templates

PTV in consultation with Bus Association Victoria, has established an agreed set of guidelines and templates for how school bus reviews will be undertaken by both PTV and School Bus Operators.

Practice Note No.1 of 2013 (issued under clause 12 of the School Bus Services Contract - November 2013) has been issued by PTV to deal with the processes, rights, obligations and consequences relating to and arising from service reviews of the School Bus Services Contract.

Download the Practice Note (PDF) 146kB

Download the Practice Note - accessible version (RTF) 545kB

PTV School Bus Centre reviews

The following guidelines and templates will be used by Public Transport Victoria to conduct School Bus Centre reviews.

Download the Procedure document (PDF) 705kB

Download the Procedure document - accessible version (DOC) 333kB

Download the Project management plan template (PDF) 177kB

Download the Project management plan template - accessible version (DOC) 431kB

Operator-initiated School Bus Centre Reviews

Bus operators are able to make submissions to PTV for School Bus Centre Reviews to be conducted in other centres outside the list of planned reviews.

The following guidelines and templates are to be used by Bus Operators to conduct Operator Initiated School Bus Centre reviews.

Operator procedure document (PDF) 1.1MB

Operator procedure document - accessible version (DOC) 329kB

Template: Notification to Public Transport Victoria* (DOC) 26kB

Template: Notification to Public Transport Victoria - accessible version* (RTF) 40kB

*Please note: it is vital that this step is completed prior to taking any action to conduct the review. Reviews are not to commence unless approved by PTV.

Template: Notification to Bus Association Victoria (DOC) 22kB

Template: Notification to Bus Association Victoria - accessible version (RTF) 811kB

Template: Notification to coordinating schools (DOC) 25kB

Template: Notification to coordinating schools - accessible version (RTF) 847kB

Template: Project management plan (DOC) 1.3MB

Template: Project management plan - accessible version (DOC) 1.87MB

Template: letter to accompany draft review (DOC) 25kB

Template: letter to accompany draft review - accessible version (RTF) 772kB

Template: checklist (DOC) 354kB

Template: checklist - accessible version (RTF) 144kB

The following document is generic to PTV and Operator Initiated School Bus Centre reviews. The PTV or Operator procedure document will detail when this document is required.

School bus contract ballot procedure (DOC) 281kB

School bus contract ballot procedure - accessible version (RTF) 2.8MB

School Bus Management System User Guide

The following user guide is to assist families through the application process using the School Bus Management System.

Please note this system is for families residing in Benalla, Monbulk, Emerald, Hamilton, Stawell, Traralgon, Upwey, Pakenham, Casterton and Pyramid Hill areas only.

Download the School Bus Management System User Guide - accessible version (PDF) 1.4MB