Bus Routes and Assignments
We route school buses in the most efficient manner consistent with state law and School Board policies and guidelines regarding the establishment of safe school bus stops. Bus stop locations are established with safety the main criteria. There are often conflicting issues involving bus stop locations such as time, door side pick-ups and distance. Some, but not all, of the factors in determining a bus stop are:
- Potential safety issues at waiting/loading zones
- Age of the students
- Student access to the bus stop
- Maintaining state mandated distances for activation of the school bus 8-way warning lights
- Visibility at the stop location for approaching motorists
- Because of the inherent danger in school buses backing up, routes and stops locations are established where possible to preclude the necessity of buses backing up.
- Routes are designed to avoid buses traveling into areas terminating at cul-de-sacs or dead end streets or unapproved/ undedicated township roads and/or developments.
- Buses will not be routed into developments where other vehicles or objects may block or create unsafe travel through the development
- Is the road a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation designated “hazardous road?”
- On high speed and congested roadways school bus stops create hazards for both students and the motoring public so the department tries to keep to a minimum the number of stops
House Stops – School Board Policy #810 bans “house stops” except for students whose IEP requires one, for validated medical reasons of the student or where Penn DOT has certified the road to be hazardous to walk or cross over.
Hazardous Routes – Only the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation can certify a road as hazardous. Even if designated a hazardous road the law permits students to walk up to 500 feet in some circumstances to reach a bus stop.
Distances from Bus Stop or School – School Board Policy #810 permits a secondary student to walk 2.0 miles to a bus stop or school. The same policy permits elementary students to walk 1.5 miles. Both distances are aligned the state law.
Length of Ride (Time on Bus) – There are no time limits set by the Pennsylvania Department Education on the length of a bus ride.
Stop Locations – We try to centrally locate all stops for the students assigned. Elementary stops may be within the neighborhoods. Middle School students are expected to walk farther and high school stops are almost never in the neighborhood, but out at main roads.
Mirror Stops – School Board Policy #810 states that where possible all stops for private, public and parochial students should be at the same location.
Requests for Changes to Bus Stops
Please contact your child’s school to help facilitate a request for a change in a bus stop if you relocate within the Parkland School District during the school year. The school will contact the Transportation Department to get the new bus and/or daycare information. Once the school receives confirmation from the Transportation Department, the school will contact you with the new bus information. It is important to follow this procedure so your child’s school can update their records accordingly. Schools will verify your residency for the safety of our children.
The following procedure is in place for a bus stop change if you are not relocating within the school district or are not newly requesting transportation.
Requests for bus stop changes MUST be in writing and be sent to the transportation department for review and approval/denial. All changes must be approved by the Assistant Director of Schools Services or his/her designee. School bus drivers are NOT permitted to change stop locations without written approval from the Transportation Department. Drivers who stop at locations other than those officially listed are in violation of school board policy and the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code. Disciplinary action will be taken against drivers who violate this policy. We cannot move a stop if there are multiple students at the stop. Stops are created and are set to be central to all who use it. Nor may stops be moved if it causes an increase in the run time for the bus. We have a very limited amount of time to complete a run and get to the next school on time. Each time a bus stops it adds 30 – 60 seconds to the run time.
Changes to bus routes and stops take a minimum of 72 hours to be effective as every student on that particular run must be notified of times changes.
Notification of Bus Assignments & Stop Times
Public School Students:
All public school students will be notified when bus schedules are available in HAC prior to the start of the school year. It is recommended that students check their bus stop times as changes are made from time to time due to additions and deletions to the route during the year.
Non-Public School Students:
Approximately one week prior to the beginning of the new school year all bus information will be sent to the parent/ guardian. Bus schedules are also sent to the non-public school.