The division is responsible for the safety of students using division-owned vehicles while the students are on the vehicle. It is the parents’/guardians’ responsibility to ensure the safety of students from home to the school bus pick-up point, until boarding the school bus and from disembarkation from school bus to home. We do however track our new kindergarten students and highly recommend you bring them and meet them at the bus stop. Grades 1 through 12 students will be left off at their bus stop even if a parent is not there to meet them. You can make a “Must Be Met" request by contacting the transportation department. This stipulation will be relayed to the driver on the student manifest
Upon reaching the stop, the bus driver will radio the dispatcher and request a call to your residence to notify you that the school bus has arrived at the stop. The driver will be instructed to keep your child on board and continue on with the route. After completion of the route, the principal will be notified and your child will be returned to the school. If you are in the habit of meeting your child but have not requested a “Must be Met by Parent” and, for whatever reason, are delayed in getting to the stop, the same will apply. Please remember that school buses are triple routed, and it could be some time until your child is returned to the school. Also, should you be unable to meet the bus and you send someone the driver has not seen before, you should call the transportation office to notify them of the change.
Your child may have different drivers between the morning and afternoon routes. However, they will be consistent in those routes from day to day, with the exception of sick leave, leave of absence and employee turnover. Regarding buses, your child's bus number will be consistent most of the year, with the exception of when the bus is taken out of service for scheduled or unscheduled maintenance. When this occurs, our spare buses are used as replacements. The spare buses are numbered in the 90s. Because of the size of the fleet and the number of students who are affected when a spare bus is used, parents are not notified of the change.
Drivers are not permitted to adjust routes, times or stops. Only certain students, whose needs are addressed through a personal transportation plan, are eligible for door-to-door service. This service is typically restricted to students with certain disabilities. For other students, service is provided in accordance with provincial and divisional guidelines that assure a maximum distance to the stop is not greater than 800 metres. Within these guidelines, every effort is made to improve route efficiency by clustering students to stops and, where possible, providing service on major streets.
Because of the large volume of students we transport, we request that only parents of students with special needs call to cancel transportation on a particular day or route. For example, you may call to cancel just the morning pickup or just the afternoon take-home if you are going to pick up your child at the school. This saves time and worry for the drivers, wondering why their children have not come to the bus.
There are several ways. First, each driver has a student manifest that provides information such as name, grade, address, pickup or drop-off point, time, school, and any special instructions. Examples of special instructions would be medical requirements, such as allergies, Epi-Pens, or “Must be Met by Parent” requests. Also, each kindergarten student is supplied with a badge the first day of school, identifying their name, school, drop-off point and take-home bus number. Teachers will pin the badges on students’ backpacks or, preferably, jackets. Besides these, the driver is in constant radio contact with the dispatcher. The dispatchers have access to all of the same data that the school has on your child.
Some situations that cause the bus to be late include traffic, road closures, weather, vehicle breakdowns or circumstances from the prior bus route. In some instances, the bus is held up at the school waiting for students. The same holds true when picking up students. If 20 students are one minute late for the pickup, the bus will run 20 minutes late. This is very profound considering some buses can pick up as many as 250 students during the course of the morning routes. Since we operate close to 80 buses on 360 routes, transporting some 3,900 students, it is virtually impossible to contact parents when a bus is late. However, the transportation department is in constant radio communication with all of the buses. Should a driver foresee they will be 10 minutes behind schedule, he/she is required to inform the base and, in turn, the base notifies the school. At the beginning of the year, please expect the buses to run several minutes late, for usually a week, as this is an exciting time for parents. It takes time to have pictures taken, to say and wave goodbye, and, in some cases, some of our new riders can be very reluctant to leave their parents and go off alone to a strange place.
We make every attempt to adhere to the pickup and drop-off times indicated. For the morning pickup, if the change is less than five minutes, the driver will notify your child of the change. If there is a change in stop time greater than five minutes, or a change in stop location or bus number, the transportation department will send written notification to you by mail. One copy of the notice also will be given to your child by the driver and another copy will be sent to your child’s school. The afternoon drop-off time indicated in your letter is an approximate time only. Buses do run late at times, and can run early, as well. If your child’s bus arrives earlier than the normal drop-off time, it will likely be because some students who would normally be dropped off before your child are not on the bus, putting it ahead of schedule.
My child is currently being bused on a Fee-For-Service basis. Will there be busing available for him next year?
The transportation department re-evaluates the routing each new school year. Student demographics are affected from year to year due to graduations and people moving in and out of the school division. As a result, the routing can change dramatically. If there are no longer students that qualify for transportation in accordance with divisional policy in the area, buses will not be routed there. Subsequently, there would not be Fee- For-Service capabilities. As well, should the bus be at capacity, there would not be room for fee-for-service students.