Frequently Asked Questions

If you have additional questions, comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to send us an email at: [email protected]

Eligibility

Is my child(ren) eligible for transportation?

Students are eligible for busing if they live within their school boundary and their address is located further than the distance listed below.  Distances are measured by the shortest walking route to school calculated by our Ministry approved computer software system.   

Avon Maitland DSB and the Huron Perth Catholic DSB determine walk distance policies for students. These distances are:

  • Kindergarten to Grade 8: residing more than 1.60 KM from designated school of attendance
  • Grade 9 to Grade 12: residing more than 4.80 KM from designated school of attendance.

You can check out your child’s eligibility based on your home address by following directions on our Transportation Eligibility page.

My child receives daycare from an alternate location. Do they qualify for transportation? 

Transportation to an alternate location or daycare can be arranged if the following conditions are met:

  • The “Request for Alternate Transportation Form” is completed and reviewed by your home Principal. Find the form on the Request for Transportation to an Alternate Residence page.
  • The alternate address is within the school transportation boundary and is eligible for transportation (ie: outside the walk zone)
  • The schedule must be consistent each morning (schedule A, one pickup location Monday - Friday) and each afternoon (schedule B, one drop off location Monday - Friday). Inconsistent schedules will not be considered, joint custody arrangements will be exempt.
  • See complete list of requirements:  Procedure A-3 Alternate Transportation
 

Please keep in mind that not all daycare facilities receive door stops. Please check with your daycare provider to ensure that someone is accompanying your child to and from the designated bus stop.

My child's parents live at two different addresses. Is it possible for my child to ride from both parents' homes?

Applying for Joint Custody transportation can be arranged if the following criteria are met:

 

What is a Designated School Boundary?

Each School Board sets attendance boundaries for its schools and programs. Children who reside within the attendance boundary of a school are entitled to attend that school, provided that they are accepted into the relevant program. You may also verify your designated school by visiting completing our "Which School Do I Attend?" form.

How long does it take for transportation arrangements to come into effect?

It typically takes 3 business days to organize transportation arrangements once HPSTS receives the information from the school.

Routes are prepared prior to the start of the school year. Because route arrangements have already been completed, altering arrangements requires communication between the bus operator and HPSTS and may impact other children already scheduled on the vehicle. In light of the above, and due to the volume of requests, during the month of September, it can take up to 5 business days.

If I live in the walk zone, and there is a bus in my area, can I ride the vehicle?

Non-eligible riders are not permitted to ride any vehicle, even if the vehicle has empty seats. This applies even if the student has a younger sibling who is eligible and is assigned to the bus.

   

Bus Routes and Stops

Where can I find my child's bus information?

Your bus information can be found on the Parent Portal. First time users must create an account through the Parent Portal. Instructions on how to do so can be found on the Parent Portal Instructions page. The Parent Portal will provide the following information; your child’s eligibility for busing, route information, School Bus Operator information and more. Please note the email address used to create an account must match the email record registered at the school.

Parent Portal FAQs & Troubleshooting

I am moving. Who do I need to notify?

Contact the school and register your child, or, if the school remains unchanged, provide the new information to the existing school. HPSTS arranges transportation based on the information provided by the school and only takes change of address information from parents/guardian over the phone during the summer months when the school is closed.

Who is responsible for my child's safety prior to boarding the bus and after disembarking from the bus?

The parent or caregiver is responsible for the student until they board the bus and after they disembark from the bus.

If I have an infant, small child, or provide daycare at my home, can I change the bus stop to my door, so I do not have to bundle up the children?

All student transportation is governed by the same policies as other families who do not have infants or provide daycare at home. It is the responsibility of the parent /guardian/caregiver to get the students to and from the stop, both in the morning and the afternoon.

I do not like the bus stop location. What can I do? 

Students are expected to travel from their home to meet the bus. Parents/guardians are ultimately responsible for student safety to, from and at the bus stop.

While parents/guardians often want a bus stop moved closer to the house because of younger infants at home or municipal matters such as no sidewalks, traffic speed, snow removal, and/or construction, etc., students in the non-bus zone and the bus zone face the same circumstances and therefore will not result in the bus stop being moved.

Due to the volume of requests for stop location reviews received in September, these will be considered in October.

How do I find out if my bus is delayed or cancelled? 

Bus cancellation and delay information is provided to a significant number of local media outlets, is posted to the HPSTS BusPlanner Web page, and can be found in the BusPlanner Delays App. HPSTS will make every effort to announce the decision to cancel school buses before the start of the school day between 6:00 AM and 7:00 AM. Parents make the final decision in sending children to school during inclement weather. 

The BusPlanner Delays App is available to parents who would like to have alerts sent directly to them. Once signed up, you will receive information directly regarding the delays impacting your child’s bus route. 

How does Huron Perth Student Transportation Services select bus stops? 

Many factors are considered when selecting bus stop locations. In Urban areas corner or community stops are selected whenever possible, meaning accessible for more than one student. These stops are generally not changed from year to year. In a rural environment, the bus will pick up close to the residence, but is not required to stop directly at the residence. In rural areas where there are groupings of homes, community stops will be established. HPSTS-contracted vehicles do not travel into privately maintained roads, extended rural driveways or gated communities.

I am going on vacation. Can my child be dropped off at a different location?

Short term temporary transportation changes cannot be accommodated. Parents/guardians traveling (i.e. Trips, conferences, etc.) throughout the school year are responsible for making their own arrangements for their child(ren)s transportation to and from school.
 

How early should I be out waiting for my bus?

Parents should have their child out at the stop at least 5 minutes prior to the posted pick up time. Unfortunately, Bus Drivers are not able to wait for students that are not at their stops. Waiting can impact the timing for dozens of other students.

Where can I find my bus route number?

Your children’s route numbers can be found in the Parent Portal or in the window on the side of the bus.  It is also available by contacting your school or HPSTS.

Can my pick-up or drop-off time be changed earlier/later so I can get to work?

No, the school board is not a babysitting service and will not adjust pick up or drop off times to suit parents' needs. Bus routes are interactive and a single change for one student can impact the timing for dozens of other students.

Bus Driver and Vehicle

Can I request changes in service directly from the driver?

Drivers are employees of the bus operator (who is under contract with HPSTS) and are not authorized to make any changes or accommodate requests. Any request to change a stop location, or any other transportation related service must be submitted to HPSTS. 

My child left personal items on the bus. Who do I contact? 

Contact the bus operator regarding lost items. Be ready to provide the school and route number to the bus operator. You can find the bus carrier information on our Buses & Drivers page.

Why can't students eat on the bus?

Eating and drinking is not allowed on the bus for safety reasons. A child could choke on a piece of food and with the high back seats and noise on the bus, the driver may not be aware of the situation until it is too late. Some students have a very severe reaction to some foods therefore it is safer for everyone when the no eating and drinking rule is adhered to.

Why are there no seat belts on school buses?

Very few injuries happen on school buses. Instead of requiring seat belts, school buses are designed and constructed differently from passenger cars. Safety features include: high-back seats, seats filled with energy-absorbing material, seats placed close together to form compartments and strong seat anchorages.

Studies have shown that adding seat belts to the current seating configuration of a school bus can increase the chance of head and neck injuries. For a seat belt to be effective, it must be worn correctly, snug and on the upper thighs. Because school vehicles carry passengers from the very young to high school students, if seat belts were used, they would need to be readjusted and their use monitored. A seat belt not worn correctly may cause serious injuries.

Can my child bring their musical instruments or sports equipment on the school bus?

If equipment or other items cannot be stored on the student’s lap or in their backpack, they are not permitted on the bus. Aisles must be kept clear at all times to ensure the safe evacuation of students from the bus in emergency situations. In addition, large objects often cannot be effectively secured inside the bus, which can result in them becoming projectiles in the event of a hard stop or accident.

My child's bus has different drivers all the time and I was told it was an "open route." What does this mean?

An “open route” means that there is no permanent driver on the route and there may be other drivers assisting to cover the route until a permanent driver can be assigned. Currently there is a significant driver shortage in our area, but bus operators are always working diligently to minimize or eliminate open routes through ongoing driver recruitment.

General

My child is in Kindergarten. Are there any special provisions for Kindergarten students?

Kindergarten students being returned by bus will not be permitted to exit the bus unless the appropriate parent or caregiver is present to meet the child at the bus stop. Kindergarten students who are not met will be returned to their school and the parent/caregiver will need to make their own arrangements to pick them up there. Kindergarten students are expected to utilize community common stops with other neighbourhood students.

HPSTS has developed a First Ride Program and a Green Tag program for young students. Visit those pages for more information.

What is the seating capacity on a school bus?

HPSTS recognizes the safety concerns and problems associated with loading buses to the maximum capacity of 70 passengers. The following are general guidelines that are used and in some circumstances or areas these numbers may vary:

  • Grades K – 6: 3 students per seat
  • Grades 7 – 12: 2 students per seat

 

I hav a concern about student behaviours on my child's bus. Who do I contact?

If you have a concern regarding student behaviour on the bus, you should contact the school. The bus is considered an extension of the classroom and the Principal of the school is responsible for following up with student behaviour issues.

If the route is shared between two schools, and the behaviours involve a student from another school, please contact your Principal so that they can investigate the issue with the Principal of the other school.

Is transportation provided for special events?

HPSTS cannot provide transportation for special events such as birthday parties, visiting friends or social events. Parents are responsible for transportation arrangements for personal commitments.

What if my child has a life-threatening medical condition?

If your child has a known medical condition, please contact your school. The school will then complete the Request for Transportation for Students with Special Needs form after reviewing the information. The purpose of this forms is to assist the bus driver with responding to severe life threatening situations, such as a student on the bus who may require immediate attention within minutes of an attack to prevent death.

These forms are kept confidential by your school, HPSTS, the bus operator and the bus driver.