Toggle menu

Free School Transport for Catchment School

Application Form

There is an obligation on local authorities to provide school transport assistance for children and young people who are entitled. Transport is not provided to take a child home at lunchtime. Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) arrange transport for mainstream primary and secondary children on behalf of Glasgow City Council.

Details on how to apply for your NEC card.

  • All children and young people aged 5 - 21 year of age can now travel by bus free by applying for a National Entitlement Card (NEC Card). Therefore Glasgow City Council no longer issue free school bus passes for public service buses for those who qualify for transport. You must now apply for your National Entitlement Card for your child to travel for free.
  • If your child attends school as the result of a successful placing request, free home to school transport is unlikely to be available.
  • It should be noted that if your child moves to a school in a different denominational sector, a placing request is required and free home to school transport is unlikely to be available.
  • No transport or assistance with transport is provided for those pupils under the statutory school leaving age in attendance at further education college.
  • A child attending a nursery will not normally be provided with school transport except in circumstances where a child with additional support needs will benefit from attendance. This is not a statutory provision and each case will be addressed individually.

The Council can make such arrangements as they consider necessary to provide school travel assistance for mainstream schools. The method of transport varies within Glasgow and includes:

  • Dedicated bus
  • Rail
  • Public service buses using NEC card for free travel
  • Underground
  • Taxi

Criteria for Mainstream School Transport

Glasgow City Council provide transport for children and young people who live more than 1.2 miles from their local catchments primary school by the shortest suitable walking route and more than 2.2 miles from their local catchment secondary school by the shortest suitable walking route. This is slightly more generous than the statutory obligation.

The distance will be established by measuring the distance from home (footway outside the house) using the council's Geographical Information System. The walking distance is measured from the house gate or pavement heel and then by the shortest suitable walking route to the nearest school gate. Some children and young people will require to walk a reasonable distance from their home address to the transport pick up point, but this will not exceed 1.2 miles for primary schools and 2.2 miles for secondary schools.

Mainstream Primary and secondary school pupils may also be entitled to transport for the following reasons:

  • they have a medical condition and their GP or hospital consultant has recommended transport. Please note you must provide supporting documentation from your GP or hospital consultant
  • the family are experiencing exceptional circumstances, e.g. family have been made homeless. Please note you must provide supporting documentation from an appropriate agency e.g. social work services, health visitor etc
  • there is no suitable walking route between the child's home address and their local catchment school. Please note that the authority will make a decision after checking with Neighbourhood, Regeneration and Sustainability (NRS) Services and Roads Section
  • the child has been placed in a school nominated by Glasgow City Council for example, as a result of their local catchment school being full. When this happens transport will be provided in line with the distance criteria.   
  • If spare seats exist on a dedicated school transport vehicle, transport may be granted on a privilege seat basis as long as there is no additional cost to the authority. Privilege seats are awarded on an annual basis so parent/carers need to reapply each year. Decisions on privilege seats will be made by the end of September each year, after determination of the availability of seats. Where there are more requests for a privilege seat than the number of seats available, a ballot will be held in order to allocate spaces. Glasgow City Council reserve the right to withdraw transport if the seat is required by a child/young person travelling to their zoned school and are entitled to free school transport or if the contractor reduces the size of the vehicle. Should this happen you will be given five days' notice to allow you to make alternative arrangements.


When Should I Apply?

You should apply for transport:

  • when you register your child for primary school in November - if successful transport will be granted from P1 to P7
  • in February before your child transfers to secondary school in August - if successful transport will be granted from S1-S6
  • if you move house or change school
  • from June onwards if you wish to apply for a privilege seat.

This allows time for the authority to liaise with SPT to tender and plan transport for the August term.

If your application is received by the 28 March you will be notified of the outcome by 30 May. Applications received after 28 March will be dealt with in due course.

How Do I Apply?

Apply online using our Free School Transport Application Form. (This application form is for mainstream schools only and cannot be used for ASL schools)

myaccount gives you the ability to set up an online account using a single user name and password to access a range of online public services including some Glasgow City Council services. Read more about myaccount.

Applications are also available by contacting the Corporate Integrated Transport Unit on 0141 287 1056.

National Entitlement Card (NEC) Applications

The National Entitlement Card (opens new window) provides advantages over the school bus pass as it can be used to travel on participating buses at any time throughout Scotland and not just for home to school travel.

Children and young people who are 5 to 21 years old will need a new or replacement National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot National Entitlement Card (Young Scot NEC) to travel for free by bus. Existing Young Scot cards can be upgraded for 16+ using the Transport Scotland app. Under 16s can use their card to apply online to upgrade at or they can complete an application and request a replacement upgrade.

All existing pupils who have a bus pass have been given the opportunity to apply via an application form distributed by their school.

A parent, guardian or carer is required to apply on behalf of any child under 16 and provide approval for them to travel by bus. Young people 16 and over should apply on their own behalf. Please note if your child is disabled and has a Disabled National Entitlement Card they should continue to use this as the Young Scot National Entitlement Card does not provide free companion travel.

You can apply online for an NEC (opens new window) or if you don't have all of the proofs required you can pick up an application form at any Glasgow library and return the completed form with necessary documents to the library. Please refer to "more information about how to apply" for the documentation required.

For further information about the free bus pass scheme, please visit:

If you require any assistance with your application, please email

Applying online for an NEC Card for Free Bus Travel

Before you apply online this is what you'll need. You won't be able to save and resume your application, so please get this information ready before you start.

Applying for a National Entitlement Card for yourself aged 16+? 

To apply you will need:

  • a device with a camera or webcam (laptop/tablet/phone)
  • to sign in using your mygovscot myaccount (click register if you don't have one)
  • a recent digital photo showing your head and shoulders
  • proof of identity (passport, driving licence, Young Scot card, Biometric Residence Permit or use your Yoti account)
  • proof of address (such as Council Tax bill or bank statement)


Parent Applying on Behalf of Your Child Aged Under 16?

To apply you will need:

  • a device with a camera or webcam (laptop/tablet/phone)
  • to sign in using your mygovscot myaccount (click register if you don't have one)
  • parent proof of identity (passport, driving licence, Young Scot card, Biometric Residence Permit or use your Yoti account)
  • parent proof of address (such as Council Tax bill or bank statement)
  • proof of your child's identity (eg. birth certificate (if under 11 only), passport, Biometric Residence Permit or Young Scot card)
  • proof of your child's address (only if they live at a different address from you)
  • child's birth or adoption certificate (listing both your name and your child). Note: abbreviated birth certificates will NOT be accepted
  • a recent digital image of the child (if aged 11+) showing head and shoulders

View a full list of accepted proof of address and photograph guidelines

Once you have applied on, you can log back in to check the status of your application - i.e. submitted, approved, rejected.

You should allow up to ten working days from the date your application was approved for your card to arrive.

Applying for an NEC via a Glasgow Life Library 

Individual Applications can be submitted at any Glasgow Life library using the attached all in one form and providing 2 pieces of supporting documentation as outlined below. If there is no photographic ID available then a photo referee will be required and this forms one piece of identification. (If pupils are in school then SEEMIS could provide the other form of identification).  

PASS (Proof of Age Standard Scheme) Requirements

NEC cards are PASS (Proof of Age Standard Scheme) approved cards and each application route requires at least 2 corroborating pieces of identification. The following pieces of personal information must tie in with the details provided on the application:

  • Name (Birth Certificate, passport, driving licence, *SEEMIS, *Carefirst)
  • Address (Birth Certificate, passport, driving licence, utility bill in past 3 months, *SEEMIS)
  • Date of Birth (Birth certificate, passport, PASS hologrammed card, Trusted Source letter)
  • Photograph (Driving Licence, passport, PASS hologrammed card or **photo referee declaration on form and photograph)

*SEEMIS and Carefirst are two examples of 'Trusted Sources' but there may be other agencies who can provide verification in the form of a letter as their referral of young people comes from a trusted source, (for example Youth Justice agencies).


What Happens Once My Application is Received?

If you apply online, you will receive an email to confirm the details you have submitted. 

Consideration will be given to the application and whether this meets the above criteria as outlined.  A letter is then sent to parent/carer to confirm the decision.

If you apply before 28 March each year you will be notified of the outcome by 30 May each year.

School Travel Assistance for Children with Additional Support for Learning (ASL) attending an ASL School or Unit

All Local Authorities have a duty under the Additional Support for Learning Act to identify, provide and review the additional support needs of their pupils, including the need for transport.

Glasgow City Council may provide supported school travel assistance for children and young people who have been assessed as requiring it because of their additional support needs. We place a strong emphasis on including pupils with additional support needs within their local schools and communities and our transport policy reflects that commitment.

The council want to ensure that the travel assistance we provide supports children and young people's needs in the best way as they develop. This will be assessed on an annual basis and Parent/carers of children attending ASL establishments are required to complete an annual travel assessment form with the assistance of their school.

This is to ensure where travel assistance is being provided, that it is meeting the correct needs of children and young people, in particular to equip them with the vital independent travel skills, as best possible, to fulfil their potential before moving on to post school destinations.

This ensures a more tailored and flexible approach to meeting children's individual requirements, which will be reviewed annually to reflect changes in children and young people over the year.

This travel assessment process will determine what is best for each child and may result in full independent travel, or a move away from fully supported travel assistance depending on the child / young person's needs.

Criteria for Additional Support Needs Transport

Glasgow City Council provide transport for children and young people who live more than 1.2 miles from their ASL primary school by the shortest suitable walking route and more than 2.2 miles from their ASL secondary school by the shortest suitable walking route.  

The above distance criteria applies to all children.  However, where the distance from home to school does not meet the above criteria, the information provided by parents during their child's travel assessment process, will be used to assist us in deciding whether school travel assistance will be provided based on need. 

For example:

  • the child/young person has a physical or sensory impairment or a severe, profound or multiple learning difficulty which requires specialist transport arrangements for supervision
  • the child/young person has a disability which prevents them from accessing the transport generally available to take other children from that area to school

Travel assistance may be:

  • Escorted/non-escorted Minibus (wheelchair accessible where necessary)
  • Escorted/non-escorted Taxi (wheelchair accessible where necessary)
  • Non-escorted transport by Public bus service using NEC travel pass (or similar travel pass)
  • Non-escorted transport by Public rail service using rail card.
  • Parental Payment (mileage allowance)
  • An individual school assisted travel skills programme

Strathclyde Passenger Transport (SPT) arranges transport for mainstream primary and secondary schools on behalf of the authority. Glasgow City Council makes its own arrangements for children with additional support needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

View our Frequently Asked Questions on Additional Support for Learning Transport.


Code of Conduct for Pupils Travelling on School Transport

The head teacher will establish with parent/carers and pupils the importance of good behaviour on school transport. Where necessary, examples of unacceptable behaviour will be emphasised to pupils.

The responsibility of ensuring safe and acceptable behaviour remains with parent/carers of a child travelling on a school transport vehicle. Misbehaviour or action which could put the safety of others at risk may result in the removal of the provision of transport by the authority. This may be temporary or permanent.

In circumstances where a pupil's behaviour is unacceptable, the driver may retain the pupil's ticket/pass for identification purposes. Initially SPT along with Education Services will carry out an investigation, if appropriate. The head teacher will invite the parent/carer and the pupil to a meeting and ask the pupil and parent/carer to respond to the report of the incident.

The head teacher will ask for an assurance of the pupil's good conduct prior to the resumption of previous travel arrangements. It is important that the school keeps a record of any such incident and details the responsive action taken. During the interim, alternative arrangements, where necessary involving parents, will require to be made in order that the pupil attends school.

In cases of serious misbehaviour, the head teacher can still exercise his or her right to have regard to the discipline policy of the establishment and Education Services.

Request to Review a Council Decision Not to Grant Transport 

The Council, in discharging its statutory requirements, aims to assist parent/carers in their responsibility of ensuring that a child attends school safely and on time in line with our policy on the provision of school transport. The Council will also strive to ensure with the services of Strathclyde Passenger for Transport (SPT) and Land and Environmental Services, are the most effective, suitable and economical use of resources by closely monitoring contracts and routes.

A request to review the decision made regarding your child's transport must be made in writing within 10 days of receipt of the refusal letter. This should be made to the Corporate Integrated Transport Unit (CITU) based at 40 John Street, Glasgow, G1 1JL.  Written submission should include any additional evidence to support your request for transport.  Reviews which lack specification will be rejected.

Written notification of the outcome of the review will be provided within 28 working days of receipt of the written submission.

Parental Concerns 

We also aim to be responsive to the concerns of parents and carers in the provision of appropriate transport to meet the needs of each pupil. We keep our arrangements for school transport under continuous review.

Parent/carers who have concerns or complaints about any aspect of the provision of mainstream school transport may contact their child's school by phone giving the details which will then be recorded and submitted to SPT's complaints form.

It is important for parent/carers to have the opportunity to ask questions about eligibility of their child for school transport therefore if you have any enquiries about applying for free school transport please contact the Corporate Integrated Transport Unit on 0141 287 1056.

Related Content



Last modified on 15 May 2024

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email