ASTP Scheme

Commencing 1 January 2024, the SCM100001 Prequalification Scheme: Assisted School Travel Program (ASTP) provides the Department of Education with access to a wide range of experienced Contractors to support the delivery of the Assisted School Travel Program.

About the ASTP Scheme

The Assisted School Travel Program plays a significant role in meeting the needs of eligible students with disability by providing free specialised transport to and from Government and Non-Government Schools where parents and carers are unable to provide or arrange transport for their child either fully or in part.

The role of the Contractor is highly regarded in the community requiring a high level of responsibility, professionalism, quality and duty to ensure the welfare of students being transported.

Contracted services may be required to transport students within a specified locality or localities, between home and school, or another route as approved. Only ASTP Scheme members may be offered a service to transport students.

Learn more about Contractor responsibilities and the Contract management framework.

Transport Area map and distance

New Applicants and membership modifications (consideration for alternate Run Phase, Transport Area or Vehicle Category) should review the Transport Areas to identify their serviceability capacity across NSW prior to applying.

ASTP Transport Areas map and distance

 

ASTP Scheme FAQs

buy.nsw is the first single procurement platform for all of NSW Government. The main way that the NSW Government buys is through contracts and schemes with the aim of being a simplified and seamless experience.

All applications and modifications to your membership in the ASTP Scheme will need to be submitted via buy.nsw.

Once approved your membership is subject to the terms and conditions of the ASTP Scheme. Approved providers can request to modify their capacity as needed should they wish to be considered for an alternate Run Phase, Transport Area or Vehicle Category.

The buy.nsw Supplier Hub connects NSW Government buyers with suppliers and is how the NSW Government can ensure that public funds are spent fairly and efficiently. It is now mandatory for all suppliers wishing to do business with NSW Government.

It’s a one-stop shop to showcase your business, share key information, and view and apply for government opportunities. You do not need to re-register if you have already registered.

Registration is quick and easy.

  1. Go to https://suppliers.buy.nsw.gov.au/login/signup and select 'I am a supplier'.
  2. Provide your name and email address and create a password.
  3. Enter your ABN and review the information that has been pre-populated for you. Add or change necessary information and click submit.
  4. Complete your profile and make your business easier to find by NSW Government buyers.

By registering you’ll be included on the whole-of-government supplier list accessed by buyers. Opportunities are automatically matched to your supplier profile for you to respond to using your supplier dashboard.

Your Supplier Hub account will also give you access to our whole-of-Government procurement platforms including eTendering, e-Invoicing, and reporting.buy.nsw

Need help to register?

Visit Supplier Hub Help Centre to learn more, call 1800 679 289 or email buy.nsw@customerservice.nsw.gov.au.

All contractors who provide services must hold and maintain insurance policies that contains coverage for all employees, personnel and subcontractors. They include but are not limited to:

  • public liability insurance to the value of at least the amount of $20 million in respect of each claim;
  • workers’ compensation insurance in accordance with applicable legislation;
  • compulsory third-party personal injury insurance in respect of each Designated Vehicle; and
  • comprehensive motor vehicle insurance for each Designated Vehicle and, in the case of any Designated Vehicle that is a taxi, all additional insurance required by law.

Please ensure up-to-date insurance and registration policies are provided within 7 Business Days of the anniversary of the renewal date for each policy. Periodic audits are conducted by the ASTP.

All vehicles used by Contractors for the ASTP must be registered in the State or Territory where the Vehicle is garaged, and be current and consistent with TfNSW requirements (if required by TfNSW, this registration must be a “business use” registration). Vehicles must undergo an annual safety check (pink slip), even if they are less than five years old.

HAND registration is an available option when the vehicle is used solely for the work of conveying sick or injured (including intellectual or mobility impaired) people (vehicles registered to government agencies are not eligible for this registration type). The declaration of eligibility for a register concession form in seeking HAND registration is available from the TfNSW website.

Relief vehicles may be required to be changed to an alternate registration type when used for ASTP services. For information on how to change a vehicle registration type call Service NSW on 13 22 13.

Advice on the appropriate vehicle insurance type may be obtained by contacting your relevant insurance company.

Vehicles must be properly maintained by a mechanic licenced to carry out such repairs. Drivers must not operate a vehicle they know, or should reasonably know, it is non-compliant with the vehicle standards.

Contractors must ensure that vehicles are less than 15 years old (based on the date of manufacture). Once the nominated vehicle reaches the 15-year age requirement, contractors will be required to identify replacement vehicle(s). If any vehicle exceeds 15 years of age and an exemption has not been granted by the department, the ASTP may with the Service.

The ASTP will assess the requirement based on student transport needs. An example of a critical vehicle category is a wheelchair vehicle which is a modified vehicle outside a standard vehicle configuration. This vehicle would have an approved engineering certificate approved by Transport for NSW (TfNSW). This vehicle would be approved for transporting passengers in wheelchairs providing it meets vehicle category minimum standards (i.e., dual air conditioning, seatbelts, childproof locks).

If the ASTP decides to review an application for exemption for a vehicle based on a critical need, it will advise the contractor that a third party vehicle inspection is required. Vehicles over 15 years of age will not be accepted for use by ASTP if the vehicle fails the authorised inspection process. These inspections will be conducted at the contractor's cost.

The ASTP has organised for TfNSW inspectors to randomly check vehicles and licences of drivers at school locations which may occur during the school year. The ASTP also conducts their own on-site inspections.

The Contractor must ensure that each Vehicle is approved by the Department and of an acceptable standard i.e. maintained and or repaired to a standard necessary to ensure the safety of Drivers, passengers and the public.

The Contractor must ensure that each Vehicle:

  • has a fixed roof
  • is maintained in hygienic, safe, and good working order
  • is cleaned and checked at least weekly
  • has functioning childproof locking devices fitted to all external doors (or as manufactured)
  • is fitted with seat belts and restraints, including child restraint systems where applicable, that comply with Australian Standards, Australian/New Zealand Standards and Design Rules
  • is fitted with an air conditioning system that is fully operational and regularly maintained;
  • undergoes an annual safety check
  • contains a vehicle first aid kit and which includes an EpiPen or equivalent auto-injector
  • has a minimum of 4 doors to allow passengers access
  • All vehicles have a Safety Management System that identifies and manages risks to health and safety.

Lear more about the Contractor safety requirements.

There are four vehicle categories defined by the department: Sedan, People Mover, Mini Bus and Wheelchair Vehicle 1–3:

Sedan

  • Seats comfortably 1-4 passengers excluding the Driver
  • Examples of types of vehicles matching this category include Toyota Camry, Holden Commodore, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda 6, Kia Sportage, Volkswagen Passat, BMW, 320i, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

People Mover

  • Seats 5-7 passengers excluding the Driver
  • Examples of types of vehicles matching this category include Toyota Tarago, Kia Carnival, Kia Rondo, Chrysler Grant, Voyager Renault, Grand Scenic, Volkswagen Caddy, Maxi Life, Volkswagen Multi Van, Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, Mercedes-Benz R-Class.

Mini Bus

  • Seats 8-12 passengers excluding the Driver
  • Examples of types of vehicles matching this category include Toyota Hi Ace, Ford Transit, Volkswagen Transporter, Fiat Ducato II.

Wheelchair Vehicle 1–3

  • Accommodates 1-3 passengers in wheelchairs and regular seating, excluding the Driver (may be fitted with additional seats to carry passengers that do not travel in a wheelchair).
  • The modification to this vehicle category must comply with Australian/New Zealand Standards; applicable to hoists, tie downs and ramps for wheelchair-accessible vehicles and Technical systems and aids for disabled or handicapped persons – Wheelchair tie down and occupant-restraint systems and test methods for all systems or such other standards issued in replacement of the above from time to time.
  • Examples of types of vehicles matching this category include Toyota Hi Ace, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Mitsubishi Fuso Rosa, Ford Transit, Renault Master.

If you wish to use a vehicle that seats more than is required for a run, i.e. 13+ passengers or accommodates more than 4 wheelchairs, then you may use the vehicle at the required payment rate as determined by the ASTP.

All personnel including the Contractor, administrative staff and Drivers engaged by the provider to support the transport of students under the ASTP must submit a screening application (Working with Children Check and National Police Check (Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check).

Applications are to be submitted to the ASTP and will be screened and independently assessed by the Department of Education’s Probity Unit.

The ASTP follows a number of industry-accepted safety standards similar to providing passenger services in NSW i.e. taxi and hire vehicle (including rideshare) driver standards.

  • Drivers must have held an unrestricted Australian drivers licence (not a probationary licence) for at least 12 months in the preceding two years.
  • Drivers must not have had a previous driver authority suspended or cancelled (other than on medical grounds) in the past five years. Current approved eligible ASTP drivers will be conditionally grandfathered unless there is a change to employment circumstances, their licence becomes suspended/cancelled, or if their suitability is called into question at the discretion of ASTP.
  • Drivers must not have been found guilty of any disqualifying offences as referenced in the ASTP Agreement.
  • Drivers must meet medical standards for commercial vehicle drivers.
  • Drivers must complete first aid training, once every three years; and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and anaphylaxis program training, annually.
  • In the event of an emergency, Drivers must follow the dealing with emergency situations procedures.

For more information in relation to driver suitability, see engaging drivers vs subcontracting.

The ASTP Mobile App for Drivers enhances the service quality for our customers and ensure the safety and wellbeing of students while on transport.

Find out more about the ASTP Mobile App for Drivers.

Regional areas

For those drivers servicing areas with limited or no mobile coverage, the Mobile App for Drivers will continue to function with the Run Data from the last refresh. The application will synchronise with the ASTP when the connection is re-established.

Providers who are also taxi operators and use a taxi as the Designated Vehicle to perform ASTP services must continue to comply with all laws specifically applicable to taxis i.e. operational camera system.

The department allocates Runs based on the number of loaded kilometres (when students are present in the vehicle) considering student needs, the required vehicle category and whether an Assisted Travel Support Officer (ATSO) is present (for more information see Clause 8 of the ASTP Agreement). The Run Card details the rate payable for each service and will be made in accordance with the Rates schedules.

Learn more about the Contractor payments.

A panel of three senior officers from the ASTP meet periodically throughout the year to assess requests for modifications or additions to the ASTP Scheme (see key dates for when each intake occurs).

Each application is assessed on their demonstrated capacity to conduct transport runs up to a maximum capacity of each provider.

Should an Applicant or Contractor consider that there are substantive grounds to review the panel’s decision not to admit the Applicant to the Scheme or modify their capability. A written request by email to businessassurance.astp@det.nsw.edu.au must be received within 10 Business Days from the receipt of the original notice and addressed to the Director, ASTP providing details of the reasons for the review request.

Learn more about the ASTP Scheme migration.

ASTP Scheme membership – how to apply

The ASTP Scheme is intended to shift away from the cumbersome and onerous system of tendering so that you can spend more time running your business. Applicants will need to apply through buy.nsw which aims to be a simplified and seamless experience, it is the first single procurement platform and the main way that the NSW Government buys is through contracts and schemes.

The Department will consider ongoing Expressions of Interest (EOIs) in all regions of NSW throughout the life of the ASTP Scheme. Interested businesses must register on buy.nsw “as a supplier” and then apply for membership to the ASTP Scheme (SCM100001 Prequalification Scheme: Assisted School Travel Program).

Approved Contractors (members) are required to supply suitably qualified Drivers and Vehicles and may be offered a service subject to the terms and conditions of the ASTP Scheme Conditions and ASTP Agreement.

There is no guarantee that being added to the ASTP Scheme will result in the award of transport services.

Learn more about transport run allocation.

ASTP Scheme enquiries

If you have any concerns or issues regarding the ASTP Scheme, please email businessassurance.astp@det.nsw.edu.au or call 1300 338 278 – Option 2 (Eligible Service Providers) then Option 5 (Contract Management enquiries).

Category:

  • School operations

Topics:

  • General public
  • School operations
  • Student Support and Specialist Programs
  • Web page

Business Unit:

  • Student Support and Specialist Programs
Return to top of page Back to top