Help with travel to school costs

Free school travel is available for children, but terms and conditions apply.

Transport for London (TfL) provides free travel on buses and tram services in London (zones 1 to 6) for children under the age of 18 who are in full-time education. 

  • Children aged 5 to 10 years old travel free at any time on buses and Tubes and London Overground services without a ticket or Oyster photocard.
  • Children aged between 11 and 15 will need to obtain a 11 to 15 Oyster photocard to travel free on buses. Child rates will apply on the Tube.
  • Young people aged 16 to 18 are still entitled to free bus travel as long as they remain in full-time education and attending qualifying school or educational establishment. For this age group, TfL offers discounted fares for the tube and rail. To access this, young people can apply for the 16+ Zip Oyster photocard.

Find out more about Free and discounted travel for under 18s on TfL website

Children ages 5 to 18 could get school travel support from the council outside of the scope of the free travel offered by TfL.

Pupils who are in public care will receive support with their travel from the local authority with whom they are in care. Eligibility considerations below apply and if application fails on this bases, the applicant should contact the virtual school for advice and assistance.

Eligibility and circumstances where help with travel costs may be offered by us

  • The child must live in Hammersmith & Fulham. We will refer to council tax records to verify residency and further proof of address may be requested
  • The nearest available school must be more than two miles from home for pupils under eight years old and more than three miles for pupils aged over eight. This rule does not apply to over-16
  • A bus journey would take more than 45 minutes for a primary school pupil or 75 minutes for a secondary school pupil, in accordance with the shortest time stated by TfL. This rule does not apply to over 16 whose application will be considered on individual merit.
  • Pupils must attend their nearest available suitable school. If you didn’t apply to the nearest school of the desired type, or a place was offered but you didn’t accept it, your application will not be accepted. If you are unsuccessful in obtaining a place at the nearest school of your preferred type, you must provide proof of this.
  • For post-16 applicants, you must be able to provide evidence that the course of study is not available in any school in the borough and within the distance that free bus travel will easily enable you to and fro school. The grant will normally be capped and you can still obtain the 16+ Zip Oyster photocard which entitles you to discount.
  • If your child has a statement of special education needs please see the SEND Local offer EHCP for further details
  • Exceptional circumstances such as a medical or social need. In these circumstances, it may be appropriate for the professional (doctor or consultant) working with the family to refer the child for EHCP assessment if they deem the child's health is so poor as to affect their normal functioning and access to education in London.
  • A child in a low-income family who is eligible for free school meals or where the parent or carer is in receipt of the highest level of working tax credit.

If you feel that your child may be eligible for assistance with travel, please complete the travel grant application form. 

Apply for travel grant

All applicants will be advised of the outcome of their application in writing within 21 working days.

Approved applications

Successful applicants will be notified in writing that a travel grant has been approved. We will carry out checks with the school to confirm that the child remains on the register and is attending.

If a grant has been made but the child is no longer attending the school please tell us. A proportion of the grant will need to be repaid to us.

Method of payment 

If your child is eligible for financial assistance, payment will be paid into your nominated bank account in 2 instalments. This applies to new applicants and renewals that are approved for the start of the academic year.

A form to provide your bank details will be provided with your letter. Payments will be calculated in accordance with the cheapest fare available at the time (usually this will incorporate concessions available to Oyster card users) and will cover the cost of the return home to school journey during week days and term time only.  

The first instalment will normally be made in September and will cover travel costs up until the February half-term break. The second instalment will be issued during January or February and will cover travel costs up until the end of the summer term.

You will not normally need to complete a renewal form for the second instalment as checks will be carried out with the school to confirm that your child remains on roll and is attending.

An application must be renewed at the beginning of each academic year.

Applicants that apply mid-year as a result of moving to the borough will have their travel costs awarded proportionately.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council will not be held responsible for the loss of Oyster cards or any credit that it may contain.

Unsuccessful applications

Where you feel an application has been refused unfairly please write to us to explain the reasons and your case will be considered by us.

School admissions manager
3rd Floor, 145 to 155 King Street
London, W6 9XY

If you're still unhappy with the decision after this, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman.

Other useful information

16 to 19 bursary fund for education related costs

18+ Student Oyster card

Subsidised college transport for 16 to 19 year olds in education

Disabled Persons Freedom Pass

For further information please call the school admissions team on 020 8753 1085.

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