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School buses are free when they operate wholly in a rural area and travel to the local school.

To travel on free school bus services you

  • Must be a student under 19.
  • Do not need a Student Bus Pass to receive free travel.

A rural area is entirely outside the urban area.

If the school is within the urban area, the bus will charge a fare. This is to ensure fairness between urban and non-urban students at the same school.

See urban area boundary maps.


A local school is the school within your intake area.

An intake area is the geographical boundary that surrounds each government primary and combined (district) school. Sometimes called school ‘catchments’ or ‘home areas’, intake areas are set by the Department of Education. Primary and district schools accept enrolments from their intake area. High schools accept enrolments from certain primary and district schools.

See intake area map – electronic.
See intake area maps – PDF.

Learn more about Department of Education intake areas.