School transport

The school transport team administers applications for children resident in the borough of Darlington, aged 5-16 who are eligible for free travel. 

Travel and transport policies

Contact us

  • School transport: 01325 406333
  • Post-16 transport: 01325 406333

Some frequently asked questions

Is my child entitled to free home to school transport?


Free transport will only be provided to the nearest suitable school (this is a school which offers a full-time programme of education) over 2 miles from the parental address, if there is not a school closer with availability.

Should a child's permanent home address change, the eligibility for transport will be considered by us after satisfactory evidence is provided.


Free home to school transport is available for Darlington pupils of compulsory school age if the family are in receipt of free school meals or full working tax credits to:

  • 1 of their 3 nearest appropriate and/or suitable Community or Foundation schools, should a pupil obtain a place at that school and if that school is more than 2 miles and less than 6 from the parent/carers home using the shortest walking route judged to be safe*
  • 1 of their 3 nearest appropriate Voluntary Aided (church) school for pupils whose parent/carers adhere to that particular denomination and who obtain a place at such a school and where that school is more than 2 miles but less than 15 from the parent/carers home using the shortest walking route judged to be safe*

Transport is also provided to the nearest appropriate school if it is over the statutory walking distance of 3 miles.
The nearest suitable school is the nearest available school which offers an efficient full-time programme of education.

We use a GIS (Geographical Information System) to measure all distances from the home address to the main school gate.

*In urban Darlington the authority has judged a safe walking route to be one that is lit at regular intervals and paved/tarmacked.

Post-compulsory school age

We will not provide assistance to students continuing on into post-16 education. We would advise students to contact their school or college to see if any assistance is available.

How do I apply for free transport?

Please contact us for an application form at [email protected] or by phoning 01325 406333.

What will happen if my child's address changes? Will they still be eligible for free transport?

Where parent/carers move house, we may be prepared to assist with travel expenses to enable pupils who live in Darlington to continue at their existing school in Year 11. These arrangements will not be extended for pupils who continue into post16 education (after the age of 16).

We reserve the right to amend the transport policy.

When will my child receive a bus pass to travel to secondary school?

If applying for a pass from the start of a new academic year the bus pass will be sent by post to your home address during the last week of the summer holiday. If applying during term time the bus pass will be sent by post to your home address once eligibility assessment has been carries out (10 working days).

Do I need to apply each year?

Yes. Renewal forms will be sent from us automatically until your child is due to leave school.

What do I do if the bus pass is lost or stolen?

You should inform us immediately and we will arrange to issue a new bus pass. You will  be required to pay a fee for the new bus pass this will be a maximum of £10 per pass and you may need to provide new photographs if we do not have any on file.

How does parental preference affect entitlement to free home to school transport?

If you express a preference for a school that is more than 2 miles (primary) and 3 miles (secondary) from the parental home using the shortest available walking route (judged to be safe), and are successful in obtaining a place, you would not be entitled to free transport for your child if there is a nearer qualifying school.

Is help with transport available if my child has a medical condition?

If your child has a medical condition we may be able to provide assistance providing they are attending the appropriate school. To apply for transport on medical grounds you would need to fill in an application form available from us and provide evidence of your child's condition such as a letter from a specialist involved in your child's care. We will then assess your application and appropriate transport arrangements (if any) will be put into place for your child.