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Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the FAQ below to view the details.

Starting new travel arrangements

How do I organise the right bus (or other transport) to use?

Current information may be available from the following organisations or their websites:
  • Translink.com.au - Journey planner. (You may wish to select "More options" and scroll down to tick most options including "School".) (Telephone: 13 12 30).
  • Your school
  • Local bus companies (or via your local government).
  • Your local Department of Transport & Main Roads (DTMR) School Transport office. Click here for the phone number of your nearest DTMR School Transport office or, phone 13 QGOV (13 7468) and ask for your local School Transport office.

Where can I get a bus pass?

NSSTAS is not involved in issuing bus passes. Please contact your student's transport provider directly for a bus pass.

What bus service should my student catch?

Your local Department of Transport & Main Roads (DTMR) School Transport office will be able to advise. Click here for the phone number of your nearest DTMR School Transport office or, phone 13 QGOV (13 7468) and ask for your local School Transport office.

Otherwise your school may be able to advise you.

I can’t afford to pay for the bus fares. Can NSSTAS help me financially?

NSSTAS is unable to provide upfront financial assistance. Please contact the Principal to see if assistance can be provided to you by the school.

1. Check your eligibility for the Bus Fare Assistance Program or Students With Disability

I drive my student to and from school. Can I claim a rebate from NSSTAS?

Yes. There are two potential sources of assistance.

Firstly, in regards to Bus Fare Assistance, if you drive to a bus stop or school, you may be entitled to a Conveyance Allowance from your local Department of Transport & Main Roads (DTMR) School Transport office. Click here for the phone number of your nearest DTMR School Transport office or, phone 13 QGOV (13 7468) and ask for your local School Transport office.

Secondly, if one of your students has a disability and meets the criteria under the Students With Disability program, you can claim through NSSTAS. SWD applicants are asked not to apply to DTMR for Conveyance Allowance (driving to a bus stop or school) as this is already covered through our Scheme when you apply with us (NSSTAS).

Is catching a ferry part of the school transport Scheme?

Yes. If your student catches a ferry, please contact the transport provider for the most ecomonical deal for student travel for a semester.

Is catching a train part of the school transport Scheme?

Yes, but only for the Students With Disability program.

I've seen a form about other school transport assistance. Where can I get that?

The form may have been issued by your local Department of Transport & Main Roads (DTMR) School Transport office. To ensure you receive the maximum benefit possible through the two school transport assistance Schemes, please also check with them

  • If your student catches a bus, ask if they should be catching a particular "contracted bus service", to be eligible under
    • their School Transport Assistance Scheme (STAS) and/or
    • our Non State Schools Transport Assistance Scheme (NSSTAS)
  • Also ask the DTMR if their Scheme can give you other help directly with:
    • Conveyance Allowance - if you drive to a bus stop or school,
    • Safety-Net - if you hold a DVA or Centrelink Concession Card,
    • Train/rail travel assistance – if applicable, and
    • Isolated assistance – if applicable.

Click here for the phone number of your nearest DTMR School Transport office or, phone 13 QGOV (13 7468) and ask for your local School Transport office. More information at: www.tmr.qld.gov.au/SchoolTransport.

SWD applicants are asked not to apply to DTMR for Conveyance Allowance (driving to a bus stop or school) as this is already covered through our Scheme when you apply with us (NSSTAS).

They may suggest you phone us, but there is no need as we only accept online applications on this website.

Where can I get a taxi voucher for SWD?

NSSTAS does not provide taxi vouchers.

For information regarding taxi transport, please contact the Department of Transport & Main Roads.

Tip: Search for "taxi subsidy scheme qld" in your web browser.

Can kindergarten children qualify?

No. Children in kindergarten and pre-preparatory do not qualify. The year levels that qualify are Preparatory to 12.

My student has a disability and takes the private school bus. Can I claim for school transport assistance?

Yes. You can apply for Students With Disability (SWD) transport assistance.

I receive government school transport assistance. Can I also apply for school transport assistance from NSSTAS?

Yes. You can receive school transport assistance from NSSTAS and STAS (Department of Transport & Main Roads (DTMR)). In some circumstances your DTMR school transport assistance will be deducted from your NSSTAS entitlement.

Note: If you receive DTMR school transport assistance, NSSTAS will be notified of this.

SWD applicants are asked not to apply to DTMR for Conveyance Allowance (driving to a bus stop or school) as this is already covered through our Scheme when you apply with us (NSSTAS).

Who can apply?

The Scheme refers to all 'non-state schools' within Queensland. Refer to our website for eligibility criteria.

How does the rebate work for shared custody arrangements?

Parents with shared custody arrangements are encouraged to liaise with each other to lodge only one application for the student concerned - using the address from which most travel cost is incurred during the school week (at the “Student Home Address” question). The online application form has provision to advise a separate applicant address (at the “Postal Address” question), where applicable.

NSSTAS is only able to pay on one application.

What are the arrangements for weekly boarders?

Boarding school students need to make a minimum of two journeys each week - one journey to and one journey from school each week. For example, a student may travel by bus to school on Sunday and return home by bus on Friday after school. The parent will receive a rebate calculated on two trips per week, based on the School Transport Maximum Cash Fare Schedule (STMCFS) issued by the Department of Transport & Main Roads (DTMR).

My student does not catch the recommended transport provider to school. Can I still claim for rebate?

If the bus is chartered by the school and your student does not have a disability, then you are not eligible to receive a rebate from us for the Bus Fare Assistance Program.

What is the eligible distance from home to school?

This relates to the Bus Fare Assistance Program only.

The student must live more than 3.2km from the primary school attended, or more than 4.8km from the secondary school attended.

What are the designated geographical areas for the programs?

Bus Fare Assistance Program (BFAP) – Non-state school attended within Queensland, outside the Brisbane City Council boundary.

Students With Disability (SWD) – Non-state school attended within Queensland.

2. Note in your calendar to apply each May and October on this website

When do I apply?

Apply in May to claim the rebate for Semester 1 (Terms 1 & 2) (for travel January to June)

Apply in October to claim the rebate for Semester 2 (Terms 3 & 4) (for travel July to December)

Note in your calendar to apply each May and October on this website: www.schooltransport.com.au

3. Pay for transport throughout the semester

Is there any way NSSTAS can pay me before I have to pay for school transport?

NSSTAS is unable to provide upfront financial assistance. Please contact the Principal to see if assistance can be provided to you by the school.

4. Keep your receipts

My student attends school by various modes of transport. Do I need to inform you about this when applying for the Bus Fare Assistance Program?

No. If you drive your student to a bus stop or school, check with your local Department of Transport & Main Roads (DTMR) School Transport office regarding Conveyance Allowance.

Click here for the phone number of your nearest DTMR School Transport office or, phone 13 QGOV (13 7468) and ask for your local School Transport office. More information at: www.tmr.qld.gov.au/SchoolTransport.

They may suggest you phone us, but there is no need as we only accept online applications on this website.

Do we have to keep all our receipts for transport?

Yes. Audit checks are conducted and receipts are required (on request) to complete our obligations under the Scheme.

You need only keep receipts for three months from the date we paid you for that semester (we will not ask you to provide them after three months from that date).

5. Apply

I forgot to apply. Can I apply for a previous semester?

No. You can only apply for the current semester. We recommend you note in your calendar to apply each May (for travel January to June) and October (for travel July to December) on this website: www.schooltransport.com.au.

I started to apply but have forgotten to finish and "submit" my application. Can I still be paid?

No. You must ensure you are directed to the “Thank you for submitting the application” page. You will receive a Confirmation Email within one working day. If you are not directed to the thank you page then you haven’t submitted your application and you will not be paid.

Can I make an application using my mobile/iPhone?

Yes. However a laptop or computer is recommended. The possibility of making an error is high when using smaller gadgets, for example, leaving out an important digit in your bank account details.

How does the rebate work for shared custody arrangements?

Parents with shared custody arrangements are encouraged to liaise with each other to lodge only one application for the student concerned - using the address from which most travel cost is incurred during the school week (at the “Student Home Address” question). The online application form has provision to advise a separate applicant address (at the “Postal Address” question), where applicable.

NSSTAS is only able to pay on one application.

What if I never knew about the Scheme and never made an application before. Can I qualify for an arrears or a backdated payment?

No. You can only apply for the current semester. We recommend you note in your calendar to apply each May (for travel January to June) and October (for travel July to December) on this website: www.schooltransport.com.au.

What is the difference between a Term and a Semester?

Schools have two Semesters a year each broken into two Terms as follows:

  • Semester 1 (for travel January to June) = Term 1 & Term 2;
  • Semester 2 (for travel July to December) = Term 3 & Term 4.

How do I figure out the Average Weekly Fare?

You need to estimate travel use for all of:

  • Semester 1 (for travel January to June) when you apply in May; and
  • Semester 2 (for travel July to December) when you apply in October.

You base the estimate on your student's average weekly travel pattern from the start of semester, to the time you apply.

For example, John has been catching the bus to and from school (8 trips per week) for 12 weeks.
His parents pay the bus company weekly.
They have paid a total of $900 for 12 weeks this semester up to the time of applying.
They think his travel pattern will continue like this.
The Average Weekly Fare = $900 divided by 12 weeks = $75 per week.

6. We calculate how much we will pay you

How much money will I receive for Bus Fare Assistance Program (BFAP)?

You can estimate the amount of BFAP rebate we pay you. It will be approximately equal to the following calculation:

Rebate =
(Sum of average weekly fares for your students - Weekly family threshold) x Weeks in semester - Adjustments
Adjustments include:
  • Absence from school and other times not using the bus/ferry
  • Fares in excess of the applicable rate i.e.
    • The TRANSLink.com.au fares for Go Card Concessions (NOT Adult) including discounts;
    • Or the cheapest student rate set by your transport provider (if not TRANSLink);
    • Or for standard kilometre based services the School Transport Maximum Cash Fare Schedule (STMCFS) set by the Department of Transport & Main Roads (DTMR) and available from their website.

Note: Information from sources such as Schools, Transport Providers, DTMR and other government agencies is used to cross check the information in your application. Inconsistencies may result in your payment being delayed until we can verify your data. It is important to be as accurate as possible.

How much money will I receive for Students With Disability (SWD)?

Rebate assistance depends on:

  • actual kilometres travelled from home to school
  • number of days the student attends school
  • student's school attendance
  • the fare cap set by the Department of Transport & Main Roads (DTMR) School Transport Maximum Cash Fare Schedule (STMCFS)
  • other criteria outlined in our SWD Guidelines

How does the rebate work for shared custody arrangements?

Parents with shared custody arrangements are encouraged to liaise with each other to lodge only one application for the student concerned - using the address from which most travel cost is incurred during the school week (at the “Student Home Address” question). The online application form has provision to advise a separate applicant address (at the “Postal Address” question), where applicable.

NSSTAS is only able to pay on one application.

What's a threshold?

The threshold is the set amount of money that families pay before receiving any rebate from us. It is deducted from the total family weekly amount of transport fares before the rebate is calculated. This means that if you have more than one student in your family, your family is out of pocket for only one threshold per week.

The threshold is determined by the NSSTAS and can change each semester depending on the demand on the Scheme and the funding available from the government. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is taken into account when setting the threshold. It is also influenced by the amount of money the Scheme has paid out in previous semesters.

If a paper ticket costs more than a Translink or similar card - can I claim for a paper ticket?

For a student travelling on a Translink service or other service with discounted fares, the rebate we pay you is based on Go Card concession fares or discounted fares (depending on the average weekly number of trips the student catches the service).

How do you calculate the distance travelled to school?

We generally use Google Maps to calculate the shortest trafficable route from home to school. Other websites such as WhereIS might be consulted.

Do I get a rebate for school transport assistance for the full term or is this based on school attendance?

Rebate is based on weeks of school attendance. Full weeks of absence are not rebated. When you apply for NSSTAS twice a year, you are applying for the whole Semester broken into two Term as follows:

  • Semester 1 (for travel January to June) = Term 1 & Term 2;
  • Semester 2 (for travel July to December) = Term 3 & Term 4.

What if my student's average transport use changes after I have applied (through to the end of the semester)?

Just send us an email with your details advising us of the change in circumstances.

Why am I paid less in comparison to previous semesters or in comparison to other families who have applied for the same funding?

As each family represents a different situation (e.g. number of students in the family), it is advised not to compare payments. Contact our office if you feel there is a discrepancy.

Less payment could be due to several factors such as less weeks in the semester (Semester 2 is usually shorter than Semester 1), an increase in the weekly family threshold or deductions made because of an overpayment from a previous semester.

How many weeks in a Semester?

Your school website should tell you how many weeks there are in the Semester and the Term dates within that.

Semester 2 is usually shorter than Semester 1, because in Term 4 (at the end of the year) Year 10 and 11 students usually finish one week earlier, and Year 12 students usually finish two weeks earlier.

7. We aim to pay you by the end of August/January after you apply

When will I get paid?

Applications made in May will usually be paid by the end of August; applications made in October will usually be paid by the end of January of the following year.

I have not received any payment advice or email from NSSTAS yet?

Check your SPAM/Junk/Promotions email folder.

When searching your bank account online for a deposit, ensure you select ‘All transactions’. The payment description will be ‘School Transport’ (payments to 2016 started with ‘NGSTAS’).

I have changed my personal details (email, bank etc). Who do I contact?

If the change is made after you applied but before we have paid you your rebate, send us an email at schooltransport@qcec.catholic.edu.au with your new email/bank details. Otherwise input the new details in your next application.

General

What about a reminder email?

We try to send a reminder email to the email address used last semester. However we recommend you note in your calendar to apply each May and October because you may not receive a reminder email. This can happen if you:

  • change email address (in which case it's fine to apply without any reference numbers from us),
  • have email filtering that puts our email in your Spam/Junk/Promotions email folder, or
  • didn't apply in the previous semester.

Who funds NSSTAS?

Non State School Transport Assistance Scheme is funded by the State of Queensland with the assistance of the Department of Education and Training.

What is conveyance allowance?

A Conveyance Allowance is a car allowance administered directly to parents by the Department of Transport & Main Roads (DTMR). Contact your local DTMR School Transport office to see if you are eligible for this allowance. Click here for the phone number of your nearest DTMR School Transport office or, phone 13 QGOV (13 7468) and ask for your local School Transport office.

SWD applicants are asked not to apply to DTMR for Conveyance Allowance (driving to a bus stop or school) as this is already covered through our Scheme when you apply with us (NSSTAS).

They may suggest you phone us, but there is no need as we only accept online applications on this website.

What is the best way to contact your department?

What is the Non Government Schools Transport Assistance Scheme (NGSTAS)?

Non State Schools Transport Assistance Scheme used to be called, Non Government Schools Transport Assistance Scheme. It was decided to change the name to more accurately reflect the charter of the Scheme.