Transportation Frequently asked Questions
I follow a bus every morning and they are going so slow, what is the speed limit for buses? Regulation EDC-R: Transportation Safety states:
Bus drivers will adhere to the following maximum speed limits for school buses:
- While transporting students over interstate highways, buses are not to exceed 55 miles per hour.
- While transporting students on route over state, county, or other secondary roads, buses may run the posted speed limit up to 40 miles per hour.
- While running empty, buses may observe the posted speed limits, not to exceed 55 mph.
- While on field trips or express routes, drivers may drive the posted speed limit, not to exceed 55 miles per hour on state, county, or other secondary roads.
What are some General Bus Rules?
- Observe classroom conduct
- Cooperate with the driver
- Remain seated
- No excessive noise
- Sit in your assigned seat
- Do not eat, drink, or chew gum on the bus
- Keep the bus clean
- Do not damage the bus or equipment/Do not tamper with equipment
- Keep your head, hands, and feet inside the bus
- Be courteous and respectful
- No harassing and/or bullying of anyone
- No profane language
- Do not fight, push, or shove
- No animals of any kind – dead or alive
- No tobacco products of any description
- No flammable material
- No throwing of any objects out the bus window
- No balloons, water, or glass items
- No objects larger than you can hold in your lap
- Do not use any type of electronic device while loading or unloading the bus
- No weapons or any item resembling a weapon
- Boys and girls do not sit together
- Students are to have a note from their parent or guardian that has been approved through the school office to ride a different bus and/or get off at a stop other than their own
Can I make Transportation Changes for my child?
Yes, but please notify your child’s teacher in writing if there is to be a change in your child’s regular transportation. The following information must be included on the transportation note: the date, the child’s full name, where the child is going, how the child is being transported (bus, car, etc.), the teacher’s name, and the parent’s signature. The note will be given to the driver after approval. The driver will not change a child’s regular mode of transportation without having the note.
If I am in a rush, can I get my child off the bus before the bus gets to my child’s stop?
No, bus drivers may not let a child off the bus at any stop other than their own without written and approved authorization from their home school’s Principal or designee. Please do not meet the bus along the route and ask your child to get off. Please meet him/her at home instead.
Will the bus pick my Kindergarten child up in front of my house?
There are no special laws or regulations for transporting regular education students enrolled in kindergarten. If your district provides transportation, it will be provided in accordance with the requirements of the Pupil Transportation Act, and local district policy with regard to the placement of the bus stop.
Is there a specified distance that must exist between school bus stops?
The lights on a school bus which are used to notify other traffic of an upcoming stop must, by law, be activated 200 feet from the stop. Thus, bus stops must be at least 200 feet apart.
What about the safety of my child getting to and from the bus stop? There are no sidewalks where we live and it’s not very safe walking on the busy road where we live on.
It is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian to see that a child gets safely to and from the bus stop. The school district provides transportation as a non-mandated service and establishes placement of the bus stops in accordance with the requirements of the law.
I make my child wait inside of my house until the bus is at the stop. I have heard this is not allowed – is this true?
Georgia law requires children to wait at the bus stop prior to its arrival. Bus drivers count the students at the bus stop before they load and as they get on the bus to ensure all children are safely on board. If students are not waiting at the bus stop the bus driver cannot count them and cannot be certain the students are all safely on board. Waiting at the bus stop before the bus arrives further ensures that no one chases after the bus – this is a very dangerous thing to do. Many districts also instruct their buses to not stop at locations where no students are waiting.
Why can’t last minute changes be granted?
SAFETY is our main goal and concern. Due to the needs of all students, last minute changes affect a student’s routine which may cause difficulties with parents, schools, and staff being notified in short notice.
Can my child lose his/her bus riding privileges?
Yes. In Georgia, riding a school bus is a privilege and not a right. Each local school district has adopted rules of conduct for waiting at the bus stop and for riding the school bus. If your child does not follow the rules, your child could lose his/her privileges for the entire school year.
Why did you suspend my child from riding the bus?
Behavioral expectations on the school bus are much like those in the classroom. Then, factoring the mobility of that “classroom” and traffic, added noise and the size of the” classroom” and you have a potential catastrophe if there are not clear expectations and enforcement. The behavioral expectations on the bus revolve around the individual rights of every person on the bus, including the driver and the collective rights of students and driver as it pertains to safety. Anything that jeopardizes the safety on the bus is viewed as serious. When there is an infraction, a referral is turned into the school administrators, who are responsible for contacting the student and parent to solve the lack of compliance with bus expectations. The school administrator is solely responsible for consequences based on the incident as described by the driver and student.
Why is my student’s bus late?
Weather, traffic, driver absenteeism, maintenance difficulties, and unforeseen incidents are responsible for delays in the arrival of school buses in the morning and afternoon.
Sometimes the bus routes must be doubled or run as a second load to or from the school due to the regular driver being absent. Traffic in Hall County is increasingly complex.
Drivers check buses before their routes and sometimes find mechanical problems that can cause delays and require driving another bus for that day. This can cause the bus to be off schedule.
Please know that we are doing everything we can to have all buses running on schedule every day. In the event that your bus does not arrive as scheduled, please allow ten to thirty minutes before calling the transportation office or the school.
What do I do when my student needs to ride a different bus/get off at a different stop?
Any transportation changes should be requested in writing and submitted to the school’s front office. The written note will be returned to the student to be given to the bus driver after approval.
Why can’t you call when you know the bus will be late?
There are as many as 50-70 students on each bus. That is at least 50-70 phone calls in a short time frame to parents who are quite possibly at the bus stop with their student. Please know that there is a bus on the way and that we will do everything possible to transport your student to and from school in a timely manner every day. If your scheduled bus is more than ten minutes late, please allow for the time that it requires for the route to be driven as a second load. Hall County School District uses the “My Stop” application for students or parents that have smart phones. This application will let you know if the bus is on-time or not.
Why can’t you come further into my sub-division?
School buses come in various sizes ranging from 25 to 40 feet long, 20,000-26,000 pounds, 12-13 feet high and 6-9 feet wide. The length is what limits the school bus to be maneuvered in cul-de-sacs and tight places. Smaller buses can turn in a shorter radius, while longer buses cannot maneuver the same circle without backing the bus, which is avoided in routing if possible. Residents sometimes park trucks, boats, and trailers on the streets. Children leave their bicycles, skateboards, and basketball backboards on the streets. Although our drivers are trained to be able to parallel park their buses, some subdivisions are not designed with school bus transportation in mind. Please know that we will design school bus routes to be safe and convenient for the majority of students within the limits of time and physics.
Why does my student have a seat assignment?
Seat assignments are a positive way for the ride to be consistent and safe. It is also our policy for elementary and middle school students to be assigned to a specific seat. This aids the driver with discipline and learning each student’s names at the beginning of the school year. We trust our drivers to let us know when this policy is no longer effective.
Why are there only 30 students riding some buses and my student’s bus is crowded?
Decisions regarding each bus route are made by careful planning based on information from the school registration, previous similar routes, and Department of Transportation data. Most routes are fixed during the summer months and changes are made after the first month of school, if not sooner. The more current information we are given, the better decisions regarding specific routes we can make. Distance from school, number of buses and drivers, and grouping of students and neighborhoods are factors considered also. Sometimes it is just not possible to have the exact number of students on every run.
Can my student get off the bus without a parent/guardian/designee there to meet them? What happens if I am not there to meet the bus?
Students 8 years old and younger may be brought back to their school in the afternoon if a parent, guardian or parent/guardian designee is not present at the bus stop to receive them or if they otherwise appear to have no appropriate supervision. This is in accordance with the Department of Family and Children’s Services Guidelines for the safety and supervision of children.
Why can’t my child get off the bus wherever he or she wants in the afternoon?
To avoid multiple problems, this allows the drivers to focus on driving and safety instead of having to decide whether the student should be allowed to change their routine and get off with a friend or ride to an entirely different neighborhood. This should be the decision of the parent. The driver has no other way to verify that the parent has made this decision. This policy avoids confusion and the chance of students getting lost or running away.
Bus drivers are only allowed to drop off or pick up students at their established, assigned bus stops. Undesignated stops are potentially dangerous for students.
Will the bus leave the stop without my child if she/he is not waiting at the bus stop location?
Yes! The student must be waiting at his/her stop at least 5 minutes prior to the designated time, regardless of weather conditions.
Why can’t I get on the bus to talk to the bus driver?
It is against the law! If you need to talk to the driver, please call transportation or your child’s school and they will arrange a meeting/phone call with that driver.
Ga Code Section 20-2-1182:
Persons other than students who insult or abuse school teachers in the presence of pupils may be ordered to leave school premises. Any parent, guardian, or person other than a student at the public school in question who has been advised that minor children are present and who continues to upbraid, insult, or abuse any public school teacher, public school administrator, or public school bus driver in the presence and hearing of a pupil while on the premises of any public school or public school bus may be ordered by any of the above-designated school personnel to leave the school premises or school bus, and upon failure to do so such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $500.00.
Why can’t my child bring a band instrument home?
Students may bring band instruments as long as there is room in their lap and does not bother the other student in the seat with them. All items brought on the bus must be kept in the child’s lap. It is state regulation that nothing is on the floor or that the child is not sitting on these items, such as band instruments or book bags. All emergency exits must be kept clear.
Can some children be placed on another bus?
Passenger capacity for elementary school buses is three students per seat. Middle school students are assumed to ride two-three per seat. High school students are assumed to ride two per seat. The bus may seem crowded but is not overcapacity and is still safe. It is our goal to fully utilize all the space on all the buses in our fleet.
My child left an item on the bus. How can I retrieve it?
Drivers check their buses after every run. Items left by students are held by the driver for several days and maybe claimed on the bus by the child. Fragile items are often taken out of the buses in the evening for their protection but will be available the next morning. After several days the driver will make an effort to locate the owner. Unclaimed and unlabeled items are donated to charity. You can help by labeling all of your child’s school belongings. Please know the number of your child’s bus, when inquiring about a lost article.
My child has an I.E.P. but transportation is not being provided. Why is this?
A child who has an I.E.P. does not automatically receive transportation unless the I.E.P. team writes this into the related services. If transportation is not included on the I.E.P. your child will be transported similarly to regular education students in your district.
The bus passes by my house on the way to a stop up the street. Why can’t it just stop and pick up my child at home?
Please remember that we transport more than 18000 students twice every day, so it is impossible to provide door-to-door service to everyone and do it in a timely manner. It is more efficient to pick up several students in one-stop, usually at a corner or other mid-way point for the students. We only pick up/drop off students at established Hall County School District bus stops.
Our subdivision does not have sidewalks and is poorly lit. How can I get the stop moved closer to our home?
Some of the sub-divisions in our district do not have sidewalks and the lighting is poor in many areas. With our Versa Trans routing software and our knowledge of the areas we service, we try very hard to place our bus stops at the safest location possible. But, it is very important to remember that it is the parent’s responsibility for the safety of the child to and from the bus stop.
Things are happening on the bus that the driver doesn’t do anything about—why?
The driver’s first and foremost responsibility is to drive the bus. They cannot see everything that is happening on the bus at all times. If something is happening on the bus that concerns you and your child, please contact the principal of your school or call our office so we can assist. Most often the driver is not aware there is a problem. However, each driver is happy to assist and make every child’s bus ride a safe and enjoyable experience.
My child is being threatened by another student on the bus. What should I do?
All school bus discipline problems should be immediately reported to the Principal of your child’s school. Students who continue to cause problems can be removed from the bus for a period of time in accordance to Hall County School District policy.
My child was running towards the bus and the driver looked at him/her then drove off. Why?
While it might look as though the driver “looked at the child and drove off” it is simply not the case at all. Drivers must check all the mirrors on the bus before moving. By looking at the mirrors it may seem as though the driver looked at the child. Please understand the driver is trained to look at multiple things (mirrors, traffic, students, etc…) during a bus stop. If your child is not at the stop, the driver is not likely to see them. The best way to make sure your child does not miss the bus is to be at the stop about 5 minutes before the scheduled stop.
My child missed the bus. Can I follow the bus in my car and allow my child to board the bus at another stop?
For safety reasons, if your child misses the bus, do not attempt to chase, pass, or block the bus along its route. Any action taken to impede or delay the progress of a school bus is unlawful. When in your car, directly behind a school bus, it is very dangerous for a child to attempt to run from the car along the side of the bus to board. Nationwide, fatalities have occurred where students have fallen in front of the rear wheels of a departing bus after they jumped out of a parent’s car to run up and board the bus.
I am disabled and unable to accompany my child to the bus stop each morning. Can the bus stop at my home?
Bus routes and bus stops are created for students. It is not possible to accommodate all special situations. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of parents/guardians to ensure the safe travel/transport of students to and from the bus stop and supervision while at the stop.
My child is being bullied on the bus. What should I do?
All concerns should be immediately reported to the administration of your child’s school.
I would like to talk to my child’s bus driver about a problem on the bus. How do I go about this? Couldn’t I just meet the driver at the bus stop location?
Parents are not allowed on a school bus unless specifically authorized. Parents who decide to board a bus, ignoring the warning of the bus operator, are subject to arrest and prosecution under the law. To talk with an operator, please contact the school your child attends and request a conference with the operator. Please provide the bus number and/or operator name, if possible. The school will coordinate with the Transportation Department and set up a conference.
Special Needs Transportation
How can I receive transportation for my special needs’ student?
A committee of people already involved in a student’s education determines transportation needs. After it has been determined that the student would benefit from being transported apart from the mainstreamed students, the teacher will complete and send a special needs transportation request to our office for processing.
How long does it take to set up transportation for my special needs’ student?
Three to five (3-5) days (sometimes longer) are needed to obtain all emergency information, process routing information, contact drivers and communicate with parents and other professionals involved.
Why can’t my regular education student ride the same bus with my special needs’ student?
Special needs transportation is granted in accordance with a student’s needs as a related service to the IEP (Individualized Education Plan). Students who receive an education without an IEP are provided transportation through conventional means.