School bus routes FAQ

  • All dedicated school routes are now operated by the same vehicles that operate urban routes.
  • The vehicles meet national standards for urban buses, including air conditioning and are now fully accessible.
  • There have been significant changes to school routes.  Please look for route details here
  • All vehicles are fitted with CCTV and free passenger WIFI.

Students should wait at the named bus stop around 5 minutes before the time shown on the bus timetable and signal the driver when they see the bus coming. Please stay well clear of the road when you do this.  

The buses will all be in Bayhopper colours, the display on the front will show the word SCHOOL and route number, with the names of the schools scrolling underneath.  



Each route has specific stops, with timings given for key stops. The timetables with the stop locations are here.


The Welcome Bay free school buses is a trial to gauge how traffic congestion can be reduced in the area by providing free bus transport for students. The limited access points in and out of Welcome Bay, the location of schools and existing bus use make Welcome Bay an ideal location for a trial.

Items found on the buses will be held by the bus companies for a set amount of time. Please also check with the school to make sure it hasn't been handed in there. Please contact the relevant bus company to check whether items have been found.

The journey children take to get to school is a shared responsibility between parents, the bus company, the school, Regional Council, and the child. The bus company is responsible for providing a safe bus and a qualified bus driver. Schools will follow up on reports of disruptive behaviour or vandalism. Parents need to make sure that their child is capable of travelling on a school bus and managing transfers between buses without assistance.

By law a Loading Certificate must be displayed on the front windscreen of the bus, which details the number of primary and secondary students it can carry. Bus companies can receive a fine for exceeding their loading limit, so although a bus may look overcrowded, it is rare for a bus to be overloaded. If you are concerned about the loading on a particular bus, please note the registration number and use the contact form on this website to let us know.

Some rural routes continue to be Ministry of Education funded and other routes are funded by schools and users. For Ministry of Education rural routes and SESTA routes, please contact your school.

If you would like to suggest a change, please let us know by calling us on 0800 4 BAY BUS or emailing and we will take a look into the suggestion. You can also use the online feedback form.


Tickets will be issued for each trip a student takes on the Bayhopper School bus network. They contain a lot of useful information for Smartride Card holders, including card numbers and card balances. We recommend students hold on to their most recent ticket and top up receipt.

Smartride Card ticket

Schoolhopper Smartride Card Ticket

Smartride Card Topup receipt

Schoolhopper Card Topup Receipt

Cash ticket

Schoolhopper cash ticket

If the bad behaviour is serious (is a major distraction to the driver or puts other passengers at risk), the student may be stood down from the bus for a period of time. For less serious behaviours, a student may receive a warning or be asked to sign a behaviour contract.

No, these services are for school students only.