AP 850: Transportation Services
The Superintendent ensures the provision of a safe, caring and efficient transportation service for students. This procedure addresses how student transportation shall be provided for the Parkland School Division (PSD) regional transportation area.
a) Alternate seat: refers to any seat on a bus that transports a student to an approved location other than the student’s residence as defined in section 4.1 of the Education Act.
b) Attendance Area: refers to the area of catchment for each designated school, as determined by the Parkland School Division Board of Trustees, and as established under section 10(3) of the Education Act.
c) Congregated stop: refers to a bus stop where a group of students meet to take a school bus to their school.
d) School-of-choice student: refers to a student (Grade K – 12) who resides within the provincially determined boundary area of the school division but is attending a school other than their designated attendance area school.
e) Designated school: shall mean the school to which a student is assigned based on the student’s attendance area, as defined in sections 4 and 4.1 of the Education Act.
f) Eligible student: shall mean a student who is provincially funded to receive transportation to a designated school as defined in the School Transportation Regulation.
g) Residence: (Primary Residence) shall refer to the residence of a resident student – as per the Education Act, Section 4(1): “a student is a resident student of the board of the school division in which the student’s parent resides.
h) Transfer site: shall refer to a location where multiple school buses meet to transfer students to their connecting school buses.
With respect to transportation eligibility and access:
1. The Director of Transportation shall provide eligible students with transportation from their primary residence or congregated stop to their designated school.
2. The Director of Transportation shall ensure that an eligible student receives transportation to their designated school in consideration of the following:
2.1. The parent/guardian of the student registers to receive transportation, as prudent and appropriate to do so;
2.1.1. The Director of Transportation shall ensure that an electronic (web-based) registration process and instructions for completion shall be available in a clear and transparent manner on the PSD website.
2.2. The parent/guardian has paid all applicable transportation fees in order to ensure transportation services are received.
3. A student, who does not meet the criteria as eligible for transportation (eligible student), may be provided transportation, on an annual basis, from their primary residence or an existing congregated stop to their designated or cross attendance school in consideration of the following:
3.1. Transportation Services may be provided if the distance is between 900 meters and less than 2.4 kilometers.
3.2. The Director of Transportation or designate has determined that an existing bus for the required route has available capacity;
3.3. The student’s unique life-circumstances promote a need for transportation;
3.3.1. Child-care accommodations, at an alternate location, are requested;
3.4. The student’s age, with younger students provided preference;
3.5. Registration is completed before the publicly posted registration deadline;
3.6. The alternate seat location does not require the bus route to be changed; and
3.7. The parent/guardian has paid all applicable transportation fees.
4. Available bus capacity shall be determined in consideration of the following:
4.1. All eligible students have been appropriately accommodated; and
4.2. Available seats remain unallocated on the bus.
5. A student’s access to available transportation shall be evaluated annually;
5.1. There is no guarantee of a continuation of transportation service from year to year.
6. Notwithstanding section 3 (above) the Director of Transportation may provide transportation to students who reside outside of the Division’s boundary in accordance with transportation agreements that exist between the school authorities.
With respect to transportation routes:
7. The Director of Transportation shall design bus routes to maximize efficiency and minimize ride times.
8. In designing the bus routes the Director of Transportation shall consider:
8.1. An annual review of all bus routes to ensure each route addresses:
8.1.1. changes in school populations,
8.1.2. student locations, and
8.1.3. changes to designated attendance areas;
8.2. The addition, removal or modification of existing bus routes at any time during the year; and
8.3. The transfer of buses, students and/or drivers from one route or bus to another route or bus at any time during the year.
9. When designing bus routes, the Director of Transportation shall ensure the following:
9.1. That bus stop locations are safe for students (Grades Kindergarten to 12) and drivers;
9.2. That there is a reasonable walk distance from a property entrance along a public roadway/right of way.
9.2.1. Notwithstanding special needs transportation, the distance to an available bus stop shall be equivalent to 0.5 of a kilometer.
10. The Director of Transportation may designate a bus stop on private property, in consideration of the following:
10.1. The owner of the property agrees to construct and maintain a satisfactory and safe turn-around point at their own expense; and
10.2. There is a Consent for Bus Pick up, Drop Off and Turn Around Agreement in place.
With respect to transportation fees:
11. Applicable transportation fees shall be reviewed annually by the Board.
12. Where it is not feasible to establish a bus route for an eligible student, the Director of Transportation may provide the parent with monetary reimbursement in lieu of transportation;
12.1. The parent shall be responsible for the conveyance of the student to and from school;
12.2. The reimbursement shall not exceed the transportation grant (less administration fee) for a student, except where the Superintendent determines the student’s special needs warrants additional funding.
With respect to specialized transportation:
13. The Director of Transportation shall ensure that transportation is provided for a student to and from the site of a school that provides a special education program in which the board places the student, notably:
13.1. If a student is entitled to access to a special education program under section 11 of the Education Act but does not reside in the attendance area for any school that provides a special education program that is suitable for the student, transportation is provided for the student to and from the site of the school that provides the special education program in which the board places the student. With respect to school and transfer-site supervision:
14. At transfer sites of six (6) or more buses, the Director of Transportation shall ensure:
14.1. That student supervision is in place 10 minutes prior to when school buses are loading and unloading; and
14.2. That supervision remains present until all buses transporting students have departed from the site.
15. The principal or designate of each school shall ensure that students are supervised when school buses are unloading and loading at the school.
With respect to transportation communication:
16. On an annual basis, the Director of Transportation shall maintain and review a Transportation Services Parent Handbook.
17. The Director of Transportation shall ensure that the Division’s transportation website includes:
17.1. Links to the policies and procedures that guide transportation decision making in the Division;
17.2. The Transportation Services Parent Handbook;
17.3. The definition of an eligible student;
17.4. Clear instructions regarding the registration process;
17.5. Links to the applicable fees structure; and
17.6. The fee waiver process, the circumstances in which transportation fees may be waived, and how to apply for a fee waiver.
18. The Director of Transportation shall inform parents, principals, and bus operators of the Transportation Services Parent Handbook and on the Division’s website regarding student transportation.
19. The Director of Transportation shall ensure that bus operators are aware of the information contained in the Operating Regulations Handbook.
20. On an annual basis, the Director of Transportation shall review and distribute bus operators and contractors with an Operating Regulations Handbook;
20.1. Contractors and operators shall be responsible for reviewing the Operating Regulations Booklet.
21. The Operating Regulations Handbook shall include at a minimum:
21.1. Reference to the contents of the Transportation Services Parent Handbook;
21.2. The requirements of the bus operators in communicating bus cancellations and delays;
21.3. The requirement that bus operators report to the Transportation Services Department, any accident, or traffic violation connected with a school bus that the bus operator witnesses or observes, and the consequences of failing to report;
21.4. The requirement that bus operators report, to Transportation Services, any safety concerns or hazards inherent in the routes or designated stops; and
21.5. The requirement that bus drivers shall not deviate from their assigned route, without the prior approval from the Director of Transportation Services or designate.