Transportation Eligibility

Transportation eligibility is based on a student’s grade level, walking distance between home and school, and existing accommodations based on a medical condition, housing status, or safety assessment.

Grade LevelDistance Code A:
Less than 0.5 mile
Distance Code B:
0.5 mile or more, but less than 1 mile
Distance Code C:
1 mile or more, but less than 1.5 miles
Distance Code D:
1.5 miles or more
Grades Kindergarten, 1, and 2Not EligibleSchool Bus or MetroCard
School Bus or MetroCard
School Bus or MetroCard
Grades 3-6Not Eligible
MetroCard only
School Bus or MetroCard
School Bus or MetroCard
Grade 7-12Not Eligible
MetroCard only
MetroCard only
MetroCard only

If eligible, when does a student get an assigned school bus versus a MetroCard?

Students are assigned a Yellow School Bus if:

  • The student is in grades K-6
  • The student lives in the same district as the school (if attending a public school) or the same borough (if attending a non-public or charter school, or a citywide Gifted & Talented program)
  • The student's school has yellow bus service available for all eligible students
  • A bus stop within the student’s grade/distance eligibility exists or can be added to accommodate the student.

Note: Students using this type of transportation are assigned to a safe predetermined bus stop at an intersection. Students use the same stop both in the morning and the afternoon.

Eligible students who do not meet these criteria will receive a MetroCard.

Students are provided MetroCards if:

  • The student is in grades K-12
  • Yellow bus service is not available or if a new stop cannot be added for the student; in this case, a MetroCard can be issued upon request
  • MetroCards are distributed to all students in grades 7-12;

Note: MetroCards are distributed by a school's transportation coordinator.

Exceptions to Transportation Eligibility

Under certain circumstances, the DOE may grant an exception to the eligibility requirements. The five types of exceptions are:

To apply for an exception, complete the appropriate request form on the Exceptions to Transportation Eligibility page and have it signed by your child’s school. In the case of a medical exception, a doctor must also sign the forms.

Click one of the links below for other circumstances which may impact transportation:

Specialized Transportation Eligibility

Students who have transportation as a related service through their IEP or medical accommodation plan (504) are eligible for specialized transportation.

Visit our Specialized Transportation page to learn more.

Pre-K and Early Intervention Programs

Pre-K and Early Intervention students are eligible for curb-to-curb school bus service if their IEP or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) recommends transportation as a related service.

Students who are Temporarily Housed, Including Homeless and Foster Care

Per Chancellor’s Regulation A-780, students who are homeless or temporarily housed are eligible for free transportation while they are homeless, through the end of the school year in which they become permanently housed, and for an additional school year if the student will be entering the final grade in their school. The student has a right to a MetroCard if stop to school busing is not available.

Visit the Students in Temporary Housing page to learn more.

Public School Choice

Students enrolled in Public School Choice (PSC) receive school bus transportation if they are eligible to receive a MetroCard and live within the same borough as their school. Bus transportation for students in PSC is not provided across borough lines.

A student MetroCard may be assigned to a PSC student who is not eligible for school bus service.

Siblings of a PSC student attending the same school may be assigned the same bus stop and may use that stop until the PSC student graduates from the designated school or enters grade 7.

Gifted & Talented

Placement in a G&T program does not guarantee school bus service.

Transportation eligibility for G&T programs is based on a student’s grade level and walking distance between home and school. See more in the “Transportation Eligibility” chart.

District-based G&T Programs

If the G&T program is in the same district where the student lives

If the program the student attends is in the district where the student lives, the NYCDOE will determine busing based on a student’s grade level and walking distance between home and school.

If the student’s walking distance is one mile or more, the student will get a yellow school bus if:

  1. The school has applied to the Office of Pupil Transportation for yellow bus service. For information about current bus stops at specific schools, contact the school directly.
  2. The student lives in the same district as the school
  3. The NYCDOE can reach the student and at least 10 other students on a bus route that does not exceed 5 miles in length when measured on the streets travelled by the bus through the stops on the route

Eligible students who do not meet these criteria get a MetroCard. This means that an eligible student will get a MetroCard if they live at a distance from the school where the NYCDOE cannot create an 11-person/5-mile bus route.

If the G&T program is in a different district than where the student lives

If the program the student attends is in a different district than where the student lives, school bus transportation is not provided, but the NYCDOE will provide the student with a MetroCard.

Citywide G&T Programs

Students who attend Citywide G&T programs do not have to live in the same district as their school to be considered eligible for transportation but they must live in the same borough. All other eligibility rules apply.

Specialized transportation

Students who are eligible for specialized transportation will receive specialized transportation to the G&T program. See more under “Specialized Transportation Eligibility”

Visit the Gifted & Talented page for more information.

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