Determining your fees and eligibility
Driver Recruitment Campaign
Families who rely on yellow school buses to transport their children to and from school know that bus contractors are once again experiencing unprecedented driver shortages. This has resulted in delayed buses and students arriving late for classes when drivers have had to “double up” and cover routes without a driver.
Government changes to eligibility requirements for riding the bus and lower fees this year have compounded the problem, as our ridership has increased, requiring more buses and drivers.
We know how stressful and frustrating this is for everyone who relies on this service. Since this is a province and country-wide issue, we have been working with provincial and national industry groups, the provincial government, colleagues in other school divisions and our busing contractors to look for solutions. Our contractors started the year with enough drivers to cover all routes, but have already experienced shortages due to illness and resignations, and there are only a few spare drivers available to cover those routes.
Please understand that bus drivers are doing their best to transport children safely and on time, under difficult circumstances. We ask that you continue to treat them with kindness and respect as they carry out this vital job.
To help address this ongoing driver shortage, we are again holding a bus driver recruitment campaign aimed at those who are looking to supplement their income by working a few hours a day. For example, if someone is working another job that starts later in the day, they may be interested in driving the morning run with one of our contractors, without it impacting their regular job. They would not have to commit to driving in both the morning and the afternoon – they could choose the shift that best works around their other work and family commitments, or they could become a backup/spare driver.
The bus contractor will cover the cost of training. Our contractors then pay their drivers approximately $90-95/day (for about four hours of work) when they start driving. This is a great opportunity to learn an in-demand skill and supplement one’s income by working only a few hours a day.
If you or anyone you know might be interested in learning more, contact our Transportation department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 780.460.3712.
Golden Arrow: 780.447.1538
Interested in driving a school bus? Please contact the carrier to find out more.
Bus pass applications are made through Bus Planner.
Transportation Services designs routes and schedules based on bus pass applications received by June 1st for the upcoming school year. Those applications received after this will result in students having to access a stop already established on the bus route.
Designated school (funded): $225/yearly pass
- Kindergarten to Grade 6 students who reside at least 1 km from their designated neighbourhood school.
- Grade 7 to 12 students who reside at least 2 km from their designated neighbourhood school.
- Access to second bus is an additional $112.50 yearly.
- Family maximum is $675 (family maximum based on 3 or more students).
School/program of choice (funded): $250/yearly pass
- Kindergarten to Grade 6 students who reside at least 1 km from their school/program of choice.
- Grade 7 to 12 students who reside at least 2 km from their school/program of choice.
- Access to second bus is an additional $125 yearly.
- Family maximum is $750 (family maximum based on 3 or more students).
Not funded/non-resident: $350/yearly pass
- Kindergarten to Grade 6 students who reside at least 1 km from their school.
- Grade 7 to 12 who reside at least 2 km from their school.
- Access to second bus is an additional $175 yearly.
- Family maximum is not applicable.
Replacement Pass: $15
- If your child loses or breaks his or her bus pass and it no longer scans, they will need a replacement pass. Your child has 3 business days to replace his or her pass. Failure to produce a pass will result in the child being denied transportation at school. Please contact Transportation Services to obtain a new bus pass.
Administration Fee: $25
- For issuing temporary bus passes, refunds and returned cheques, an adminstration fee of $25 applies.
- The full amount of the fee is due when the pass is issued.
- Exceptions due to financial hardship require approval by the Manager, Transportation Services. For information on waiving of fees due to financial hardship, please refer to our Student Transportation Administrative Regulation C-130-AR in our Policy Manual or fill out and submit our transportation fee waiver form.
Who is eligible to ride a bus?
Alberta Education states that transportation is provided for Kindergarten to Grade 6 students residing more than 1 km, and Grade 7 to 12 students residing more than 2 km, from their designated neighbourhood school. Students with severe disabilities do not have a walk limit and are considered eligible. Other students may be able to access transportation if there is space available. Please see Fees section for further details.
What school does my child attend?
A designated school is one which the school district has directed the student to attend. This is based on attendance boundaries set by the school division. The home address of the student determines their designated school in relation to the attendance boundary. Click here to find your child's designated school.
How is walk distance calculated?
Distances are measured using the most direct route on a street and/or walkway. This distance is calculated using a map within our transportation software that utilizes GIS (Geographic Information System) coordinates provided by the City of St. Albert.
How are bus stops determined?
Transportation service is not door to door. We are required to follow City of St. Albert bylaws, which regulate which roads school buses can travel on. Eligible students must access established bus stops and can be expected to walk up to the following distance to bus stops:
- Elementary (Kindergarten – Grade 6) – 400 meters or 0.4 km
- Junior High (Grades 7 – 9) – 600 meters or 0.6 km
- Senior High (Grades 10 – 12) – 800 meters or 0.8 km
Stop locations are based on applications received by the division prior to the June deadline. Stops are designed to be equitable while accommodating students in the same geographic area. City transit stops are the preferred stop locations as they are visible and are cleared in the winter, which increases student safety. Stops will not be changed once the school year has commenced.
Ineligible students can be expected to walk further than the above guidelines. Students are expected to be at the bus stop 5 minutes before the listed depart time on the bus schedule.
Who is responsible for my child before and after riding the bus?
Parents are responsible for students getting to and from the bus stop; this also includes the necessary supervision while waiting for the bus. Parents must ensure students are at the bus stop on time (5 minutes before designated time), provide the necessary supervision for students while going to and from the bus stop, and meet Kindergarten and students with severe inclusive education needs at the bus stop.
Will my child be released from the bus if I am not there?
Kindergarten students must be met at the bus stop by an adult or older designated sibling. Kindergarten students who are not met at the bus stop will be returned to the school.
Students in Grades 1-12 do not require an adult present to be released from the bus. Students in Grades 1-12 will be released regardless of cold weather conditions, so please ensure the child is dressed for the conditions.
How will I be notified if a collision occurs?
We will notify parents via our transportation portal as soon as we become aware of any collisions. Following the initial notification, we will notify parents via division email with more details regarding the collision itself.
How long should my child wait at the bus stop?
Please ensure that if your children are going to the bus stop, they are dressed appropriately and are aware they should not wait at the stop longer than 10 minutes.
We are moving, how do we get a new bus pass?
If your family is moving and requires new bus passes, please contact Transportation Services to inquire if there is space and/or availability from your future home location.
How do I share a concern about my child's bus?
Click here to fill out a communication report.
Please note, should we experience extreme winter temperatures or road conditions, school buses may be delayed or cancelled. If this happens, we will notify parents via our transportation portal as soon as we become aware of any delays or cancellations. Parents are also encouraged to track their children's bus(es) through the transportation portal and subscribe to text message notifications. As well, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates. Division-wide cancellations will be shared through local media.
Please ensure that if your children are going to the bus stop, they are dressed appropriately and are aware they should not wait at the stop longer than 10 minutes. Please have a back-up plan in place for getting your children to and from school.
If your Kindergarten or Grade 1 child is new to riding the yellow school bus, we encourage you to watch the following video and complete the activity book with your child before they ride the bus.
Oversize items on a school bus can become a safety hazard if the bus has to stop suddenly or is involved in a collision. Students cannot bring oversize items on board the bus unless the item can be secured safely. This means that the item must be in a backpack, closed bag or carrying case and placed on the child’s lap or between their legs on the floor of the bus. Items cannot block aisles or emergency exits.
As per the Province of Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act
Comercial Vehicle Safety Regulation AR 121/2009
School Bus Operation Requirements
Limitation on use of school bus
19(1) Subject to subsection (3), section 52 of the School Act and the Student Transportation Regulation (AR 250/98), a school board shall use only a school bus to transport students to or from a school.
23(2) When a school bus is used for a purpose under section 19, no person shall convey in or on the school bus
ii) that might endanger the lives or safety of persons in the bus.
Vehicle Equipment Regulation AR 122/2009
65(1) A person shall not use a vehicle to transport goods unless
(a) the vehicle is constructed to carry the goods, and
(b) there is equipment on the vehicle or attached to the vehicle that is capable of securing the goods to ensure that the vehicle can be operated safely when loaded and without danger of
ii) the load shifting, swaying, blowing off, falling off, leaking or otherwise escaping.
As per the National Safety Code for Motor Carriers
Standard 10: Cargo Securement
(1) A carrier shall not permit a driver to operate a vehicle where the cargo transported in or on the vehicle is not contained, immobilized or secured in accordance with this Standard.
(2) A driver shall not operate a vehicle where the cargo transported in or on the vehicle is not contained, immobilized or secured in accordance with this Standard.
Cargo transported by a vehicle shall be contained, immobilized or secured so that it cannot
(b) shift upon or within the vehicle to such an extent that the vehicle’s stability or maneuverability is adversely affected
Therefore, tubas, French horns, guitars, saxophones, trombones, hockey sticks, hockey bags, skateboards, curling brooms, etc., are not be permitted on the bus.
If you have any questions, please contact Transportation Services at 780.460.3712.
- Listen to the radio for announcements about bus transportation.
- Dress warmly on cold days in case your bus is delayed.
Parents Can Help By...
- Reviewing the transportation information with your children and establishing a plan to follow in case they miss the bus or if the bus is delayed.
- Showing younger children where to get on and off the bus.
- Putting name and address tags on younger children's clothing and on the inside of lunch boxes.
- Instructing children not to cross the road until after the school bus has left.
Meeting your Child at the Bus Stop
You are responsible for ensuring your child's safety in travelling to and from the bus stop location. A driver cannot leave the bus, and is not permitted to drop off a Kindergarten student unless someone is there to meet them. If a parent or caregiver is not at the stop to meet a Kindergarten student, the driver will keep the student on the bus. The driver, through their dispatcher, will attempt to contact the parent, Transportation Services and the school. If contact cannot be made with a parent or caregiver, the student will be returned to the school. Students in grades 1-12 do not require an adult to be present in order to be released from the bus.
Code of Conduct
The school bus is an extension of the classroom and appropriate student behaviour is essential for bus safety. Students are to follow all instructions and safety procedures as outlined by their bus driver. Bus drivers may assign seats to the whole bus or individual students at any time.
Buses stop only at designated stops. Please be at the bus stop five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
- Scan their pass when they get on and off the bus.
- Obey the bus driver's instructions.
- Remain seated while on the bus.
- Stand on the boulevard or sidewalk while waiting for the bus.
- Respect private property and the rights of others.
- Make sure that they have a clear view of traffic in both directions before crossing at a crosswalk or intersection.
Passengers should not...
- Try to get on or off the bus when it is moving.
- Distract the driver with loud music and conversations.
- Put arms and heads out of bus windows.
- Bring items on the bus that do not pertain to school activities - items that cannot be fully contained within a backpack may not be transported.
- Bring objects larger than a backpack on to the bus.
Unacceptable behaviour like running on residential lawns, climbing trees, fighting, using obscene language, eating, smoking, vaping, endangering the safety of other students or damaging the bus will be reported to the school principal and may result in the withdrawal of transportation privileges.
Danger Zones, Blind Spots and Crosswalks
The danger zone is the three metre area around the yellow bus where the driver cannot see or has limited vision. Students are probably within the danger zone and too close to the bus if they:
- can touch the bus
- can’t see the driver
Enhanced signage, road markings and crossing lights make crosswalks the safest way to cross the road, but teach your child to never cross the street in front of a bus. If a student is using a crosswalk after getting off the bus, they should:
- avoid the blind spots created by the three metre danger zone around the school bus
- wait for the bus to pull safely away
- walk to the nearest intersection
- wait for vehicles to stop and safely cross the street