Frequently Asked Questions

bus-girl-hard-hat.jpgWe have included here the answers to some frequently asked questions. If you do not find an answer to your question or concern here or on our main website, you are welcome to contact us.

Is my child eligible to ride the bus?

See the Eligibility page for details...

How are bus routes and stops determined?

Bus routes and stops are planned to provide the safest, most efficient and cost-effective service under all weather and road conditions. Students typically ride 30 to 60 minutes on a bus to school and from school. Riding times may be longer when there are traffic jams, breakdowns, or icy/snowy roads.

How far will my child need to walk to get to his or her assigned bus stop?

For students in high school - eight to ten blocks; middle school - six to eight blocks, elementary school - four to six blocks.

My child attends a Tacoma school, but does not live in the Tacoma district. Is transportation available?

No. In general the student would not be eligible. There are some exceptions to this guidline including students who are homeless and eligible through the McKinney-Vento Act. Some programs may be eligible for a Pierce Transit ORCA pass. Please contact Transporation Services at (253) 571-1853.

What if we move during the school year?

If the students' residence changes during the year but is still with the transportation boundary for the current school, transportation will continue to be provided. However, if the new residence is outside of that boundary, transportation will not be provided by the district.

What if I need to change transportation services during the school year?

If a change in transportation is desired during the school year, the parent or guardian can contact the bus coordinator at the school (ask at the school office to be directed to the right person). The coordinator will prepare a Bus Run/Stop Change Request and forward it to the district transportation department for review. If the student is eligible, you will be informed of the new bus stop and time by the school bus coordinator.

If we are denied transportation and wish to appeal, what do we do?

You may appeal a denial of a bus run/stop change request to the Transportation Appeals Board. Please contact the bus coordinator at you school, who will forward the appeal to the Transportation Department. You will be notified of the date, time, and place for the Transportation Appeals Board session.

My child is enrolled in special education services. Is he or she eligible for transportation?

Transportation for students receiving special education services is determined by the student's Individual Education Plan (IEP). Please contact Special Education Transportation Services at (253) 571-1855 between 7:30 am and 4:30 pm.

What if on a particular day I want my child to ride another bus, or to get off at a different stop?

A request to ride a different bus, or to be dropped at a different stop, is ONLY granted when the student gives the bus driver a written note signed by a parent or guardian plus the school administration. These notes are valid for ONE DAY ONLY. They may not be used on a continuing basis. Notes written by students are not acceptable.

Students should have their student identification with them at all times, and show it to the bus driver if asked.

Are buses available to serve students who attend after-school activities?

Students may ride after-school activity buses, provided they show the driver their student identification. See the All Bus Stops page for a complete listing. These buses will drop students off in areas covered by the home-to-school bus routes. Bus stops are district sites (i.e. elementary schools). They will not travel in areas that are not normally served. The ability to ride the after-school activity bus is a privilege Students need to know that they will lose activity bus riding privileges for the entire school year if they choose inappropriate behavior on the bus.

Is there any safety equipment on the buses?

Yes, there are Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Video/Audio cameras on buses. GPS means that transportation department managers and dispatchers are able to locate a bus, determine if a bus has been to a particular bus stop, and check to make sure the route is on schedule.

Cameras are present on the buses as an aid to student safety. Cameras help monitor, for the safety of all passengers, whether student conduct on the bus is safe and follows the rules for students riding buses. Cameras do not replace the discipline policy, the authority of the driver, or the responsibility of school officials. Video monitors help district administrators take appropriate corrective action in the event that violations of the rules are recorded. Again, this is to promote safety on the bus for all students. Disciplinary action may be taken based on behavior observed on video tape.

Do I have to be at the bus stop in order for the bus driver to let my child off the bus?

Parents do not have to be at the bus stop, however, we encourage all parents/guardians to have a plan in place so your child gets home safely. If a kindergarten student is the only child getting off at the stop, then a parent/guardian must be at the stop. If no one is at the stop, the child will be taken back to the school.