Applications for Free School Transport
Information on who qualifies for free school transport and how to apply.
Application Process 2021/22
Applications are now open for free school transport in session 2021/22. Applications should only be made for pupils going into the following year groups:
- P1, S1, S5 & S6.
All other pupils should retain their current passes for use in the 2021/22 school session.
How do I apply?
Applications should be made using the online form. This can be used to apply for a first time pass, a renewal, a replacement or to advise of a change of details.
If for any reason you are unable to complete the online form, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 01506 282320 for assistance.
Please note the closing date for applications is 2nd July 2021. Applications received after this will be accepted but cannot be guaranteed to be processed in time for the start of term.
If pupils have lost their passes, replacement passes can also be requested using the online form. Replacement passes will be sent to their school.
All pupils must have a pass to travel, or must pay a fare in order to travel if not entitled to free transport. Weekly tickets can be purchased from the parent's portal if the route has excess capacity. Schools will have details of these routes.
Pupils who attend their catchment school and live more than 1.5 miles (primary), 2 miles (secondary) from the school. This distance is measured as a "Suitable Walking Route" which is defined as being of hard standing, being adequately lit and of adequate width.
Apart from those who live in excess of the council qualifying distance the following pupils may also qualify:
If a child is attending a catchment school, and would normally receive free transport from home, and the childminder's address is within the catchment area and more than 1.5 miles (primary), 2 miles (secondary) distant from the school, transport assistance may be provided. The provision is not extended to temporary childminding.
A child attending the catchment school may have a medical condition which might prevent him or her either walking to school or travelling on existing school transport. In these circumstances special transport may be provided. NHS Lothian will then assess the child's needs and recommend what, if any, transport is required. Parents should request that their school apply to NHS Lothian on their behalf. NHS Lothian will advise if transport is required.
There may be instances when a child is unable to attend a catchment school because it is full. If the nearest geographical school from a child's home address is chosen and if that school is over the qualifying distances of 1.5 miles (primary) and 2 miles (secondary) transport assistance will be provided. Once a child starts the alternative school, then this becomes the adopted catchment school for transport arrangements. If the nearest geographical school is not selected then transport arrangements become the responsibility of the parent. When a P7 child transfers to a secondary school, a family's home address and its relevant catchment school is considered for transport purposes, irrespective of which primary school the child had attended.
We will not provide transport for pupils in the circumstances below:
- Pupils under the qualifying distance of 1.5 miles for primary and 2 miles for secondary, where there is a suitable walking route.
- Pupils who attend a non-catchment school.
Parents must ensure that children attending school clubs or participating in curricular activities make their own travel arrangements home. In these circumstances West Lothian Council will not provide a free transport service. Some schools provide their own transport for children attending activities after normal school hours.
Getting your first card
Normally all pupils travel free on the first day at the start of the school session in August. New cards for P1 and S1 pupils are sent to their home address in the last week of the summer holidays. Cards provided by the council are hard plastic cards (similar to a credit card) and are intended to stay with pupils for their entire school life, unless they change schools or their allocated bus route is changed. The card will have an issue date on it, the pupil's name, their school and the route they have been allocated to. S5 & S6 pupils will require to collect their cards from the school on the first day of term.
If you've lost your card
Let us know as soon as possible using our online form. You'll be issued with a new card within five days. This will be available to collect from the school office.
Until your new card arrives, you'll be able to get a temporary pass from your school office to allow travel. This must be returned when collecting your new card.