General Education Transportation

Frequently Asked Questions

The questions and answers below are designed to give parents and guardians the information they need about the following:
  • How eligibility is determined
  • Full Fare Transportation—Yellow Bus
  • Full Fare Transportation—MetroCards
  • Half Fare Student MetroCards
  • Eligibility for students participating in the No Child Left Behind Program

How is eligibility determined?
Eligibility is determined by the Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) by the application of rules contained in Chancellor's Regulation A-801.

How are the residence/school distances determined?
Residence/school distances are determined by OPT using the shortest walking route. The shortest walking route is determined by distance measurements on the official city map maintained by the New York City Department of City Planning. Driving distance and measurements provided by computer programs other than that provided to OPT by City Planning are not used to calculate student eligibility.

When can a K-2 student receive yellow bus service?
If a K-2 student lives a half mile or more from school, the school is in the same district as the student's residence, the school has yellow bus service and the parent or guardian requests yellow bus service, the K-2 student shall receive yellow bus service.

How do I determine whether my child's school has yellow bus service?
To determine whether or not your child's school has yellow bus service, contact the school. As an alternative, you may contact the Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) directly by dialing 311. When contacting OPT to determine if a school has yellow bus service, please have the name and address of the school ready.

What if my child's school does not have yellow bus service?
If your child's school does not have yellow bus service, only your child's school (not parents or guardians) may request that service be instituted.     

School-based applications for yellow bus service must be received by OPT in the spring of the year before service is required (that is, by May for service the following September). Because school bus routes frequently service more than one school, routes must be designed before the start of the school year. It is not possible to implement new bus service for a school after the start of the school year.

Why are transportation policies for charter and non-public schools different than those for public schools?
Transportation policies for non-public schools differ from those for public schools because non-public schools are not part of the Department of Education's geographical district structure. By law, transportation policies for charter school must be identical to those for non-public schools. For more information, please contact your non-public or charter school directly.

What if my child is assigned to a stop I find unsuitable?
If you find the stop to which your child is assigned is unsuitable, work with your school to select a different stop from those available to the school once service has been established. OPT does not assign stops to students, only schools do.

What if I find none of the stops available to my child's school is suitable?
If you find none of the stops available to your child's school suitable, your child's school may request that a new stop be created. Only schools may request the creation of new stops. New stops will be granted only if they can be created using existing guidelines.

What is a full fare student MetroCard?
A full fare student MetroCard allows an eligible student to travel to and from school and school-related activities by bus and subway.

How much does a student using a full fare student MetroCard pay?
There is no charge to the student.

How do I request a full fare student MetroCard for my child?
You may request a full fare student MetroCard from your child's school. 

What is a half fare student MetroCard?
Students not eligible for full fare transportation may be issued a half fare student MetroCard by the office in their school that distributes MetroCards providing the students meet the grade and distance eligibility requirements. Half fare student MetroCards are provided as a courtesy by the Metropolitan Transit authority (MTA) and allow a student to travel to and from school and school-related activities on buses only. The decision to restrict the use of half fare student MetroCards to buses is a condition established by the MTA. It is not a policy determined by OPT and is not a restriction that OPT may waive.

How much does a student using a half fare student MetroCard pay?
The student contributes half of the cost of the fare. 

More Information About Student MetroCards

How is eligibility determined for students participating in the No Child Left Behind Program?
All students who have accepted transfers to a different school under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Public School Choice Program will receive transportation through the final grade of that school. The table below shows how OPT determines eligibility for NCLB transportation.



Less than ½ mile


½ mile or more, but less than 1 mile


1 mile or more but less than 1½ miles


1½ miles or more







Yellow School Bus


Full Fare MetroCard


* The A, B, C, and D designations are used by DOE computers to indicate these distance groups.

Students in kindergarten through sixth grade who meet the eligibility requirements for free transportation will receive yellow bus service to their new school.  Students transferring to a school in their home district are assigned a corner bus stop. Students transferring to a school out of district are assigned a stop in front of their house. After sixth grade, all students enrolled in the NCLB program will receive a student MetroCard that provides free fare on public transportation. Yellow bus service is not provided for NCLB students after the sixth grade. 

Continued eligibility for general education transportation is contingent on grade level and distance from the school. For example, a grade 2 student who transfers through NCLB and resides more than 1/2 mile but less than 1 mile from the new school is eligible for yellow school bus service. When this student begins grade 3, he or she would be eligible for a full fare MetroCard for public transportation.

If I accept an NCLB transfer for my child, when will I be informed about transportation?
If you accept a transfer, you can contact OPT during the last week of August for yellow bus information. If your child will receive a MetroCard, it will be distributed by the school at the beginning of the school year.

What if we move after my child has transferred to a school through NCLB Public School Choice?
If your family moves after your child has transferred to a school through NCLB, and your child remains in the same school,  your child will continue to receive transportation based on the new address using the eligibility requirements shown in the chart above.

What if my child leaves the school he or she transferred into through NCLB Public School Choice?
The general education transportation provided under NCLB would no longer be guaranteed. If a student leaves the school, busing eligibility would be in accordance with current NYCDOE transportation guidelines. Click here for more information on the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.