The safety of students riding the school bus is a shared responsibility, resting not only with the bus driver and the students, but also with Transportation Services, service providers, administrators, teachers, parents and motorists.
School buses are generally not equipped with seat belts. Most school buses with a body size designed to carry fewer than 36 passengers are equipped with a three or four point passenger restraint for each seating space.
Students weighing less than 40 pounds need to be seated in an appropriate car/booster seat or integrated bus seat.
School Bus Capacity
The standard capacity of a school bus is up to 72 passengers, or 3 students per seat. To the extent possible during COVID-19, physical distancing measures will be implemented on school buses. Where feasible, the number of students per bench is limited at 2.
Assigned Seat and Attendance
A seating plan will be established by the driver and attendance will be taken.
Bus Evacuation Drills
Twice a year, emergency evacuation practices are carried out for most students on yellow buses, in cooperation with the school. An evacuation video is available for both
general transportation and
specialized transportation when in-person bus evacuation drills are not practicable.
School Bus Rules
The school bus is considered an extension of the school.
Administrative Regulations 6001 and 6095 inform the School Bus Rules and student behaviour expectations. Please also be aware there are restricted items prohibited from being transported on the bus.
Students riding on a school bus are responsible for their conduct and are expected to follow the School Bus Rules. Violation of the School Bus Rules may lead to loss of riding privileges, suspension from school or other disciplinary measures.
School Bus Rules
- The driver is in full charge of the bus. Respect the driver and obey directions.
- The driver may assign specific seats to students at any time.
- Students will not extend arms or head out of windows. While the bus is in motion, students will remain seated facing forward, and will not try to get on or off the bus or move about within the bus.
- Students will not throw anything on the floor or out of the windows of the bus.
- While on the bus, students will conduct themselves in a quiet and courteous manner, showing consideration for the comfort and safety of others.
- Scuffling, fighting, smoking, and the use of obscene language, gestures or behaviour on the bus, are prohibited.
- Students will not distract the bus driver with excessive noise.
- Students causing willful damage to a bus will be held accountable.
- When leaving the bus, students will observe the instructions of the bus driver, and will not cross the road without having a clear view in all directions.
- No student or parent is permitted on the bus without:
- a valid bus pass; or
- the authorization of the bus driver; or
- the authorization of the school principal or their designate.
Infractions of safety or behaviour rules will result in the following:
- The driver will first seek the cooperation of the student.
- If the student does not comply, the driver or supervisor will submit a Bus Communication Form to the school and will attempt to obtain student cooperation.
*We encourage drivers to fill out these reports as a communication tool in order to ensure students are safe and supported.
- If your child reports a behavior on the bus that is disturbing to them, please ensure that the school and service provider are made aware of the issue.
- If your child is responsible for a behavioral or safety concern, the service provider and/or school will let you know. In either case, service providers, school, and transportation staff will work with you as needed towards a solution.
- The principal or designate will keep a record of all such reports and will take corrective action, which may include suspension of the student’s transportation privileges.
- Students will not be discharged from the bus mid-trip to or from school as a form of corrective action for infractions of the school bus safety rules.
The following items are not permitted on school buses because the Alberta Motor Transport Act,
(1) School Bus Operation Regulation prohibits them from being transported on a school bus:
(d) flammable materials or substances
(e) fuel other than in the fuel system and fuel tank of the school bus
(f) anything of a dangerous or objectionable nature, or
(g) anything that might endanger the lives or safety of persons on the school bus.
(2) Only certain equipment is permitted on school buses. In cases of dispute, the final decision as to what may or may not be transported rests with the driver. The aisle of a school bus must be clear at all times.
(3) If there is enough room on the school bus, musical instruments may be transported if they are in their proper musical cases only, and must be kept on the student's lap or stowed as per the driver's instructions.
(4) Skates and skateboards are not permitted on school buses, unless they are in a closed duffle bag, and stowed as per the driver's instructions.
(5) Skis, ski poles and hockey equipment may only be transported on school buses which are equipped with exterior storage space in accordance with the Alberta Motor Transport Act, School Bus Operation Regulation.
(6) Education program-related items may be transported if there is enough room on the school bus, and they can be stowed safely. Special arrangements must be made in advance between the principal or their designate and the driver of the bus, to transport program-related items.
Car Seat/Integrated Seat
Students weighing less than 40 pounds, need to be seated in an appropriate car seat or integrated bus seat. Service providers are responsible for ensuring such seats are available and meet current safety standards. Schools are not required to send out individual letters regarding car seat use or ask parents to sign consent for use. The seats stay on the bus or any emergency transfer bus. In order to be able to safely secure students into car seats, we ask families not to dress students in bulky winter jackets or suits for the bus ride. Students can carry their winter jackets or suits with them on the bus.
To support transportation safety, some students may require a harness or vest. Decisions to use a harness/vest are made in collaboration with parents/guardians, schools, and System Strategist/Specialist. While harnesses may seem excessive, they are no different than using a car seat or seat belt to ensure that a child is safe. If a parent/guardian does not consent to the use of a physical restraint, the parent will be responsible for transportation.
It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian and school to put the harness/vest on the child prior to boarding the bus where once seated, the driver or attendant will fasten. Please note, depending on the individual student's sensitivities, schools and parents may also be requested to help fasten the harness/vest. If the school is asked to fasten the harness/vest, the service provider will provide training. Restraints must be worn and installed properly to do the job. Parents may be concerned that a harness is too tight or uncomfortable. It is important that service providers ensure a child cannot escape from the equipment.
Attendants or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) may be added to a route where there is a need for medical support, typically requested for students in:
- Christine Meikle
- Emily Follensbee
Requests will be referred to HomeCare for an assessment.
A Transportation Safety Plan can also be used to communicate important safety, medical, and behavioural information proactively.
If the bus has a mechanical failure:
- The driver will call dispatch and a replacement vehicle will be sent if required;
- The service provider will provide delay information to families;
- If the delay will be long, the service provider will contact the school with updates; and
- If for some reason this causes distress to a student or students, various emergency procedures are put into action, dependent on the situation.
If there is an emergency in a vehicle that the driver cannot reasonably handle:
- The appropriate emergency services are called first by dispatch, followed by calling the parent and school; and
- Students with possible injuries are only released from the scene to a parent, emergency services or a school official.
In the case of a real emergency, dispatch would be called, emergency services would be sent out as appropriate, students would be evacuated, and parents informed.
For the safety of all, some vehicles record video daily. Vehicles are clearly marked as having a recording device.
Parents and students are prohibited from taping or recording for reasons of privacy.
No parent at the stop to meet a child when expected:
- The driver will call into the dispatch;
- The driver will continue on the route;
- Dispatch will try all of the contact numbers provided;
- Once the driver completes all portions of the route and contact is made, the driver will return to the student’s home or corner stop;
- If there is still no parental contact, the school will be called for further information and to see if the child can be returned to the school; and
- If all else fails, the appropriate emergency service will be called.
A student is missing:
- Parents report the child as missing to the driver or the emergency line for the service provider;
- The school or Transportation Services may also be contacted if the driver has left the stop;
- School administration and Manager Transportation Services are made aware;
- A request goes out to all service providers for drivers in the area assist in the search; and
- After 10 minutes, if the child is not located, Calgary Police Service is called by the parent (or school staff if no parent available) to coordinate search efforts