Emergency Bus Route Information

Snow and Emergency Routes
Ensuring the safety of the students we transport is our number one priority. Nearly every school year we must delay the start of school, use emergency bus routes, or cancel school because snow or other poor weather conditions make roads unsafe.
What you need to know about snow and emergency routes
We encourage you to become familiar with and the procedures to follow during snow, inclement weather or emergencies.
For additional questions, call First Student at (253) 272-7750 or Transportation Services at (253) 571-1853 or email transportation@tacoma.k12.wa.us
The Frequently Asked Questions below provide key information about transportation services during snow or inclement weather.
How will I know if, and when, school is delayed or canceled, or if buses are running on snow/emergency routes?
We make announcements as early in the morning as possible, typically by 6:00 a.m. You can learn about school delays or closures in the following ways:
  • District website
  • News media: TV and radio stations announce school delay and closures.
  • School Messenger: The district's automated phone and email message system. Please check with your school to ensure your emergency contact information is up to date.
  • FlashAlert.net: Regional information network. 
What is an emergency or snow bus route, and how do I find the route for my child(ren)?
Emergency bus stops are designed to avoid areas where hazardous road conditions exist. Stops are located on main arterials. Buses will not travel on side streets when emergency stops are in effect. Emergency stops for every school are available here.
If the start of school is delayed, how do I determine the time of bus pick up or drop off?
Add the length of the delay to the time listed on the emergency route schedule. For example, if the emergency stop at 96th and Hosmer has a pick-up time of 8:10 a.m., and the district announces a two-hour delay, then the pick-up time will be 10:10 a.m.
If emergency stops are in effect in the morning, where will my child be dropped off after school?
After school we return students to their regular (not emergency) stop if at all possible. However, if road conditions are still hazardous, we will drop students off at their emergency stop. This information will be posted on the district website, and you will receive an automated telephone and/or email message.

My child receives special education bus service. What do I need to know about snow routes?
Door-to-door service for students receiving special education services will continue, providing the bus is able to make the home stop. If it is not safe to get to the regular stop, your bus driver will provide you with information regarding where your stop will be located. For additional information call the special education transportation department at 253.571.1855.  
How should I prepare my children to ride the bus during inclement weather?
Please ensure that all children are dressed warmly. We make every attempt to keep to our pick-up schedule, but delays may happen due to snow and icy roads. Children should be dressed to keep warm in case they need to wait at their stop for the bus to arrive. Ideally this would include a warm hat, gloves, coat, and waterproof boots or shoes.
How does the district decide whether to delay or close schools?
When the weather forecast calls for snow or storms, our transportation services team is continually assessing road conditions. We check weather forecasts, and consult with the weather bureau. On mornings when there is snow or ice on the roads, we drive selected bus routes starting early in the morning to check road conditions.  While conditions may be safe in some parts of the city, they may be unsafe in others. We take all of this into account and then make a recommendation to the Superintendent. We base our decision on whether we believe we can transport students safely to and from school.
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