Free school transport

To be entitled to free school transport, you must live:

  • one mile or more by the shortest safe walking route from your catchment area primary school
  • three miles or more by the shortest safe walking route from your catchment area secondary school

If you would like to apply for free school transport, please complete this free school transport application form within the documents section.

If you do not meet the criteria for free school transport, you may apply for concessionary school transport using the concessionary school transport application form within the documents section.

Free School Transport Information

How we can help get your child to school

Whilst it is the parents’ responsibility to secure their children’s education East Dunbartonshire Council is happy to help you get your child of school age to school, safety and on time. That is why school crossing patrols are provided and we operate a school transport policy which is more generous than the law requires.Indeed our home to school transport provision is amongst the most generous of any Scottish local authority. The policy states that we provide FREE school transport if:

  • Your child lives one mile or more away from his/her catchment area primary school (by the shortest safe walking route).
  • Your child lives three miles or more away from his/her catchment area secondary school (by the shortest safe walking route).
  • Your child has a medical condition that is supported by a letter from your GP.
  • Your child has been assessed to attend a school to meet the requirements of his/her additional support needs.(These assessments involve education’s psychological services who, in liaison with the school,also recommend appropriate transport arrangements.)
  • Your child has to walk a route, which after seeking advice from the EDC Traffic Officer,is considered by the education office to be unsafe for a child to walk, when accompanied by an adult.

What free school transport means

The education office identifies the need for the provision. For primary and secondary schools we work through Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) who engage the operators to provide free school transport for pupils with additional support needs the education office undertakes all arrangements.

The choice of the precise mode of transport depends on a variety of factors and is decided by the education office after taking all circumstances into account. This can result in any of the following:

  • Dedicated school contract bus (services solely for pupils).
  • Bus pass on local service bus (which can either be a commercial service or subsidised local service also carrying members of the public).
  • Rail pass on service train.
  • Taxi or private hired car and minibus.
  • The council’s own school transport vehicles.

Free transport normally covers one return journey, to school in the morning and home at the end of the school day.

When to apply for free transport

If your child is starting primary school you should apply when you enrol him or her for school. If your child is going into secondary school you should apply in April of his or her last year at primary school. You can apply at a later time but there could be a delay while arrangements are being made.

Should you move house at any time during the year a fresh application for transport must be made.


If you wish to appeal against any decision made regarding your application for school transport, you may do so by writing to the Chief Education Officer who is responsible for school transport at the address shown on the next page of this leaflet, indicating the grounds on which you wish to appeal.


We would ask you to encourage your child to behave properly and safely when boarding and travelling on the transport and alighting from it. As parents/guardians you are responsible for ensuring that your child arrives at the pick up point on time and is collected from the drop off point at the end of the return journey.

Good Behaviour

Misbehaviour could result in your child losing the right to free transport. The responsibility of ensuring safe and acceptable behaviour remains yours while your child is travelling in the vehicle provided. In the case of misbehaviour, the driver may retain children’s tickets/passes for the identification of pupils involved. The incident will then be reported to the driver’s supervisor. Details will be sent to the head teacher which may result in your child losing the right to free travel either on a temporary or permanent basis. During this period parents/guardians will be responsible for making their own arrangements for the attendance of their child at school. Assurance will be sought from you on your child’s good conduct prior to the return of the free travel pass. In cases of serious or repeated misbehaviour the head teacher has the right to implement exclusion procedures.

If you need to know more or wish to complain

If you have any enquires about the eligibility of your child for transport please contact the Head of Education at the address shown on the next page of this leaflet. Parents who have any concern or complaint connected to the provision of school transport may contact the school their child attends by telephone giving the details, which will then be recorded and submitted to SPT. (Parents may also complain direct to SPT in writing to reinforce their concerns). SPT will respond direct to parents and advise the school on the outcome of their investigations. SPT is responsible for securing 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 with monitoring, SPT welcomes the raising of any issues of concern by schools or by parents. SPT can be contacted at the address shown in the next section of this page.


The Council takes all complaints very seriously. We work hard to make sure that we deal with them promptly and effectively. If you are unhappy with how we have handled your complaint, you can contact the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman. The time limit for making a complaint to the Ombudsman is usually 12 months.

The Scottish Public Service Ombudsman
Freepost EH641

Tel: 0800 377 7330
Text: 0790 049 4372
Fax: 0800 377 7331

Website [opens in a new window]


East Dunbartonshire Council
Shared Services – Transactional Finance
Suite S4
Strathkelvin Place
G66 1XT

0141 578 8713

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT)
Bus Agencies’ Section
131 St Vincent Street
G2 5JF
0141 333 3256

School Transport Policy

To view the School Transport Policy visit the Policy on the Provision of School Transport.

Transport to School - Information for parents & carers

Our Transport Team co-ordinates transport to school and specialist provision for children and young people with additional support needs in East Dunbartonshire.

Generally a request for transport is made by the Head Teacher. In some cases where pupils are placed in schools outwith East Dunbartonshire, the Educational Psychologist will liaise with the Transport Team.

Modes of School Transport

  • Dedicated contract bus - a service provided solely for use by school pupils
  • Taxi, private hire car or mini-bus
  • Car mileage expenses for parents/carers interested in transporting their child

Please note that all drivers/escorts are checked by Disclosure Scotland as to their suitability and codes of conduct are issued to operators.

Additional Support Needs

If your child has any of the following additional support needs they may be entitled to transport to school:

  • Physical needs
  • Social & emotional needs
  • Medical needs
  • Autistic spectrum needs
  • Mental health needs
  • Needs arising from general developmental delay.

If additional planning is required for your child relating to transport to school, their Head Teacher and/or Educational Psychologist will discuss their requirements during a Pupil Support Group or Support for all meeting. In such cases the transport requirements of the pupil will be discussed as part of the regular support planning review process and will include parents/carers and any other relevant agencies. In some circumstances, this will lead to the development of a transport plan or risk assessment which will be passed to the transport team.

We plan well in advance when renewing contracts with transport providers for children with additional support needs to ensure that their needs continue to be met by the transport to school service.

Complaints Procedures

If you have any questions or would like to lodge a complaint about transport to school please contact your child’s Head Teacher who will liaise with the Transport Team.

Further Information

East Dunbartonshire Transport Team
F4 Southbank Marina
6 Strathkelvin Place Kirkintilloch
G66 1XT

Tel: 0141 578 8713


Additional Support Needs / Social Work Contracts Information

Additional Information for Parents / Guardians

  • All drivers / escorts employed on school / social work transport contracts have been cleared with Disclosure Scotland as suitable for employment.
  • All drivers / escorts shall be required, at all times, while engaged in work under this contract, to carry and to display identity badges. This identity badge will be issued by the authority following the decision that the individual is suitable to act under the terms of this contract.
  • All vehicles shall display clearly, a sign printed with the words “Transport Contract” (issued by EDC)
  • Licensed taxis are under no obligation to use car / booster seats and, if you wish your child to travel in a car / booster seat, you will be required to supply this yourself.

School Transport Annual Seatbelt Statement

All school transport contracts maintained by East Dunbartonshire Council are specified to ensure that any dedicated bus or coach used must be fitted with seatbelts. This applies to vehicles used for home to school transport and for all school trip transport services.

Where a vehicle with 9 to 16 passenger seats is used, 3-point lap and diagonal belts must be fitted for each seat position. The seat belts and their installation shall meet the relevant standards set by the Department for Transport (DFT) and the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) and if requested by the Council.

The contractor shall supply proof of the relevant seat belt test certification if requested. Where a vehicle with 17 or more passenger seats is used, either a 3-point lap and diagonal or lap belts must be fitted for each seat position.

As agents for the management of school contracts, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) monitor contract compliance through roadside inspections along with inspections carried out at the schools.

For all school contracts managed by East Dunbartonshire Council, where a seat belt is provided on a vehicle, there is a requirement for the pupils to use the restraint and to remain seated during the journey.

Drivers and escorts (where applicable) are aware of legal responsibilities for the wearing of seatbelts on school transport vehicles and endeavour to ensure that pupils remain seated with seatbelts fastened during the journey. Any difficulty experienced in gaining co-operation from pupils in the wearing of seatbelts is reported to the school. Details of sanctions are available in the 'Safe School Travel' leaflet. The drivers also ensure that all pupils have their seatbelts fastened before the vehicle drives off.

In line with best practise, schools will work in partnership with parents/carers and the Council to ensure the wearing of seatbelts by pupils on all school transport journeys is complied with.

This information is provided to parents for children who use transport provided by the Council in the 'Safe School Travel' leaflet.