Transportation Guide

Transportation Guide
A guide for parents & students
What can a parent do about school bus safety?
Bus stops
Arrival at pickup point
Boarding the bus
Conduct on the bus
Getting off the bus
Walking away from the bus
Crossing the street
Special requests
Carry-on items
Musical instruments
Assertive discipline
Frequently asked questions
Procedures for extreme weather
Contact us
Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,
River East Transcona School Division transports over 3,300 students
in both urban and rural areas. In order to ensure a safe and efficient
transportation system, it is everyone’s responsibility to promote safety
procedures that exercise care, caution, good manners and consideration
for other people. With this in mind, general information concerning bus
ridership is included in the following pages.
School bus safety starts at home—every day. Parents or guardians are
responsible for supervising their children to and from the school bus.
Over 65 per cent of outside-the-school-bus fatalities in North America
occur when students are run over by their own bus. Parental supervision
at their neighbourhood stop would, for the large part, eliminate
this tragedy. Please, always accompany your child to and from their
neighbourhood bus stop.
If, as parents or students, you have any problems concerning
transportation in your area, do not hesitate to call the transportation
department at 204.669.0202, or your school principal. We would be
pleased to assist you.
Director of Transportation
A Parent Checklist
Commit to your (K–4) child—you should accompany them every day
to and from the school bus.
Talk with your child regularly about school bus danger zones.
Practise looking left, right and left again with your child before
crossing all intersections and driveways.
Make sure your child can be easily seen­—dress your child in
bright-coloured clothing; attach reflective material to their backpack.
Shorten or remove any drawstrings that are longer than six inches
when tied (make sure they are tied). Better yet, replace them with
Velcro or buy clothing and backpacks without drawstrings. Children
have been dragged to their death by buses when long drawstrings
were snagged.
Store everything in your child’s backpack and ensure it is securely
closed. Never let your child carry anything that can be dropped near
or under a bus. Ensure your child’s teacher is insisting on the same.
Remind your child regularly that if anything falls underneath or in
front of the bus, leave it—do not retrieve it. Step away from the bus
and ask the school bus driver what to do first.
Have your child leave home in plenty of time to eliminate the last
minute dashes that cause accidents, especially in inclement weather.
Teach your child to tell and be responsible with time.
Wait for your child on the same side of the street as the bus stop.
Do not make your child cross the street to get to you. Children often
forget pedestrian safety rules when they see their parent.
Support school bus discipline. Teach your child their driver is the
leader of the school bus safety team. Work with the school and driver
if disciplinary problems are reported.
• The transportation department pre-assigns students to bus stops.
• Please ensure your child is familiar with the bus stop location prior to
their first trip.
• The bus number is posted on both sides of the bus, front and back.
We ask parents to review the following with their children:
• Be on time for the bus. Leave home early. Walk quickly. Arrive five
minutes before the departure time. You can wait for the bus—the
bus cannot wait for you!
• On your way, cross the street only at the corner. If there aren’t any
sidewalks, walk on the left facing cars.
• Never run into the street or road. Always look left and right and left
again to make sure no cars are coming when you cross.
• Stay away from the street when waiting for the bus. Always wait for
the bus in a safe place, at least two metres from the curb.
• Be sure that there is space between you and the passing cars.
• Don’t play tag or run around, but stand quietly at the stop and wait
for the bus to come.
• If other students are waiting at the bus stop, get in line without
pushing or jostling.
• While waiting for the bus, do not damage or trespass onto private
• Do not play on snow banks.
• Line up in single file in front of the bus door, at least two metres from
the curb.
• Wait until the driver opens the door before approaching the bus.
• If there is a school bus patrol, wait until the patrol takes up their
position beside the door before approaching the bus.
• Wait your turn.
• Board the bus quickly without crowding or pushing.
• Always use the handrail—this could save you from falling off the steps
and into the street.
• Make sure you watch where you are stepping.
• A seating plan is in effect at all times.
• Go directly to your assigned seat and sit straight, with your back firmly
against the seat. The bus driver has the authority to reassign any
• All students must remain seated and facing forward.
• Follow all directions and safety procedures from the first time they
are given by the driver. Any behaviour that distracts the driver
is a serious hazard to the safe operation of the bus and, as such,
jeopardizes the safety of all passengers.
• Once you are on the bus, sit down right away. Adhere to the seating
plan at all times. Keep your books, parcels and musical instruments
on your lap or under the seat.
• Laws require the aisle to be kept clear at all times (see page 7).
• When you are travelling on the bus you may talk quietly with the
people near you, but do not yell. Noisy children may distract the bus
• We ask the students to be completely silent when the school bus is
crossing a railroad crossing.
• Never stick your hands, arms, head or feet out of the windows.
Waving with an arm outside the bus is dangerous.
• Do not touch the emergency door or exits or any part of the bus
• The bus is neither a cafeteria nor a place to discard refuse. If you
are hungry, eat at home or at school. Eating on a bus can be very
dangerous due to the possibility of choking.
• Always remain seated until the bus has reached its destination and
comes to a complete stop.
• Don’t push or jostle while getting off.
• When you stop at school, let your classmates in the front of the bus
get off first.
• Always use the handrail.
• If you are not crossing the street, step directly away from the bus.
• Do not walk alongside the bus at any time!
• IMPORTANT: If anything falls underneath or in front of the bus, leave
it—do not retrieve it. Step away from the bus and ask the school bus
driver what to do first.
Always wait at the curb, at least three metres in front of the bus so the
driver can always see you. Cross at right angles, not diagonally. Never
cross the road behind the school bus.
1. If there is no school bus patrol, wait for the driver’s instruction
before crossing.
2. When school bus patrols are available, wait until the patrol signals
before crossing. The patrol will walk out part way into the street,
communicate with the driver, check traffic in both directions,
and only then signal when it is safe to cross by extending their
arm outwards and dropping their left arm. Only at this time
should you leave your curbside position to start crossing the
3. When proceeding onto the roadway you should always look left
and right and left again.
4. Walk promptly across the road. Do not run.
PARENTS: Wait for your child on the same side of the street as the bus
stop. Do not make your child cross the street to get to you. Children
often forget pedestrian safety rules when they see their parent. When
you accompany your child, please reinforce the importance of our
safety team by always waiting for and following all driver and bus patrol
Students other than those approved for regular transportation are not
permitted to ride the school bus. School bus drivers are not authorized
to grant any parental requests. Students must only get on and off
at their scheduled bus stop location. Notes from parents will not be
Items being carried on by students are limited to small articles that can
easily be stored within the student’s personal space (i.e. carried on the
student’s lap or stored under the seat occupied by the student). Law
requires the centre aisle to be kept clear.
• Hockey sticks, curling brooms, ringette sticks, skis, skateboards,
snowboards or other similar items are not allowed. Skates will be
allowed only when blades are enclosed in proper skate guards and
stored in a carry bag. Any balls must be carried in a bag.
• Science fair backboards are not allowed.
• Students should be prepared to place their carry-on items, such
as books or other accessories, below their seats. This may mean
carrying books or other items in a plastic bag, as school bus floors are
frequently muddy during inclement weather.
Due to safety regulations, only recorders, piccolos, oboes, flutes
and B-flat clarinets may be held on a student’s lap. The following
instruments must be placed under the seat: trumpet/cornet (slim case),
trombone (narrow black case) and alto saxophone.
For further information about the transportation of musical instruments,
please contact your school music teacher.
Students in River East Transcona School Division who ride buses are
subject to rules and regulations designed to provide safe transportation
to and from school. We have an assertive discipline program for bus
riders. With this plan, students will know ahead of time what behaviour
is expected of them and what consequences will occur if they do not
behave. This program provides a common approach that everyone
understands. Prior understanding of this plan leads to increased
administrative and parental support when problems occur. Please
reinforce with your child that their driver is the leader of the school bus
safety team. Work with the school and driver if disciplinary problems are
1. Follow all directions and safety procedures.
2. Stay in your seat. Sit properly. Keep hands and feet to yourself.
3. Speak in a low and respectful tone.
4. Do not eat or drink.
5. Do not litter, write on or damage the bus in any way.
6. Do not swear, use rude gestures or tease others.
Positive rewards take the form of frequent praise and recognition from
the driver to the students.
• Bus drivers greet students as they enter the bus with a few pleasant
• Bus drivers praise students who are well behaved as they exit the
Positives make students look forward to their ride on the bus.
1st incident Student verbally warned and driver will complete a
misconduct report.
2nd incident Student receives second verbal warning and a second
misconduct report is submitted.
3rd incident 9
Busing privileges suspended for two to five days and
progressive discipline procedures followed.
Very reasonably so, parents often have questions related to school
bus transportation, whether about something as vital as safety or as
commonplace as a forgotten pair of mittens on a bus. In order to be
responsive to the needs of parents, the transportation department has
assembled a list of frequently asked questions and their corresponding
answers. We hope this is helpful in making you feel more comfortable
with and aware of how your children are safely transported to and from
school each day. Should you have any questions that are not addressed
in this list, please feel free to contact us at 204.669.0202.
Who should I call if the bus does not arrive on time?
Parents are first asked to make sure that the buses are operating and
not cancelled due to poor weather or extreme cold. (Please see the
“Procedures for extreme weather” on page 15.) Normally, according to
policy, we ask that your child be at the bus stop five minutes before the
schedule arrival time. If after 10 minutes the bus has not yet arrived, you
should call the transportation department at 204.669.0202.
What are the hours of operation of the transportation department?
The dispatch area is staffed from 6 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. every school day.
Scheduling, administration, safety and training departments operate
from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Will my child have the same driver and the same bus number every day?
Your child may have different drivers between the morning, afternoon
or kindergarten routes. However, they will be consistent in those routes
from day to day, with the exception of sick leave, leave of absence and
employee turnover.
Regarding buses, your child’s bus number will be consistent most of
the year, with the exception of when the bus is taken out of service
for scheduled or unscheduled maintenance. When this occurs, our
spare buses are used as replacements. The spare buses are numbered
between 70 and 79. Because of the size of the fleet and the number of
students who are affected when a spare bus is used, parents are not
notified of the change.
Can the driver stop at my house to pick up or drop off my child?
Drivers are not permitted to adjust routes, times or stops. Only certain
students, whose needs are addressed through a personal transportation
plan, are eligible for door-to-door service. This service is typically
restricted to students with certain disabilities.
For other students, service is provided in accordance with provincial and
divisional guidelines that assure a maximum distance to the stop is not
greater than 800 metres. Within these guidelines, every effort is made
to improve route efficiency by clustering students to stops and, where
possible, providing service on major streets.
Because the division offers half-day kindergarten, buses that provide
transportation at noon are able to, in some instances and depending
on the route, drop off close to or at the home of a morning student and
pick up close to or at the home of an afternoon kindergarten student.
Regular routed buses in the morning and afternoon are not as flexible
due to the large number of students accessing the extra space on the
Can I require that my child only be released to me at the bus stop?
For students, it is the parents/guardians who are responsible for
meeting the bus if they deem it appropriate. It is not a requirement for
the division, but the transportation department highly recommends it.
Parents can request a “Must Be Met By Parent” by contacting the
transportation department. This stipulation is relayed to the driver on
the student passenger list.
What happens if I don’t meet my child at the bus stop?
Upon reaching the stop, the bus driver will radio the dispatcher and
request a call to your residence to notify you that the school bus has
arrived at the stop. The driver will be instructed to keep your child
on board and continue on with the route. After completion of the
route, the principal will be notified and your child will be returned to
the school. If you are in the habit of meeting your child but have not
requested a “Must be Met by Parent” and, for whatever reason, are
delayed in getting to the stop, the same will apply. Please remember
that school buses are triple routed, and it could be some time until your
child is returned to the school. Also, should you be unable to meet the
bus and you send someone the driver has not seen before, you should
call the transportation office to notify them of the change.
Should I call if my child will not be on the bus on a particular day
or route?
Because of the large volume of students we transport, we request that
only parents of kindergarten students and students with special needs
call to cancel transportation on a particular day or route. For example,
you may call if you need to cancel the morning pickup but still require
us to return your child at noon. The same would apply if your child is
going to be picked up rather than going home by bus. This saves time
and worry for the drivers, wondering why their children have not come
to the bus.
How does the driver know who my child is and where they belong?
Several ways. First, each driver has a student passenger list that provides
him/her with information such as name, grade, address, pickup or
drop-off point, time, school and any special instructions. Examples
of special instructions would be medical requirements (e.g. allergies,
EpiPens®) or “Must Be Met By Parent” requests.
Also, each kindergarten student is supplied with a badge the first day
of school, identifying their name, school, drop-off point and take-home
bus number. Teachers will pin the badges on students’ backpacks or,
preferably, jackets. As well, the driver is in constant radio contact with
the dispatcher. The dispatchers have access to all of the same data that
the school has on your child.
On the first day of school, does the driver have time for my child?
Usually, schools stagger the kindergarten start days and the drivers have
little difficulty handling the students. On the first day that all students
will be attending, the transportation department sends a fellow driver
with the regular driver to help instruct new students on the proper way
to board and disembark the bus, how to sit properly and how to use
their “inside voice” when talking to their neighbour. As well, they’ll be
instructed on how they should wait at the bus stop and how to cross
safely in front of the bus.
Why is the bus late and why wasn’t I called?
Some situations that cause the bus to be late include traffic, road
closures, weather, vehicle breakdowns or circumstances from the prior
bus route. In some instances, the bus is held up at the school waiting for
students. The same holds true when picking up students. If 20 students
are one minute late for the pickup, the bus will run 20 minutes late. This
is very profound considering some buses can pick up as many as 250
students during the course of the morning routes.
Since we operate close to 60 buses on 264 routes, transporting some
3,300 students, it is virtually impossible to contact parents when a bus
is late. However, the transportation department is in constant radio
contact with all of the buses. Should a driver foresee they will be 10
minutes behind schedule, they are required to inform the base and, in
turn, the base notifies the school.
At the beginning of the year, please expect the kindergarten buses
to run several minutes late for usually a week, as this is an exciting
time for parents. It takes time to have pictures taken, and to say and
wave goodbye. And in some cases, some of our new riders can be very
reluctant to leave their parents and go off alone to a strange place.
How will I be notified of a change to my child’s stop time or location?
If the change is less than five minutes, the driver will notify your
child of the change. If there is a change in stop time greater than five
minutes, or a change in stop location or bus number, the transportation
department will send written notification by mail. One copy of the
notice will be given to your child by the driver and another copy is sent
to your child’s school.
My bus is overcrowded. Can some children be placed on a
different bus?
A formula is used to determine bus capacity. It is assumed that
elementary students (K–6) will ride three to a seat and junior high to
senior high students (7–12) will ride two to a seat. If the bus has three
elementary or two high school students per seat, it may seem that the
bus is overcrowded, but it will not, in fact, be over capacity. It is our goal
to fully utilize all the space on the buses in our fleet.
I can’t see my child’s bus stop from my house. How can I get the stop
moved closer?
Bus stops are placed at centralized locations that can be safely accessed
by a significant number of students to minimize the time, length and
mileage of the routes. If you have concerns about your child’s safety, you
are encouraged to accompany your child to and from the bus stop or to
arrange a neighbourhood buddy to walk with a younger child. Students
in the division who live less than 1.6 kilometres from their school do not
receive transportation, therefore asking students to walk 800 metres or
less to a bus stop is not considered unreasonable.
My child is currently being bused on a fee-for-service basis.
Will there be busing available for him next year?
The transportation department re-evaluates the routing each new
school year. Student demographics are affected from year to year due
to graduations and people moving in and out of the school division.
As a result, the routing can change dramatically. If there are no longer
students that qualify for transportation in accordance with divisional
policy in the area, buses will not be routed there. Subsequently, there
would not be fee-for-service capabilities.
Why are seat belts not required in school buses?
Seat belts are not required in school buses because research done
by both the American and Canadian regulatory agencies determined
that compartmentalization was a better solution. Under this concept,
seat backs in school buses are made high, wide and thick. All metal
surfaces are covered with thick foam padding. The seat is required to
be anchored to the floor and will not pull loose during a collision. The
students are less prone to injury by being bounced between the seats
than by being strapped in.
Compartmentalization works well for one, two or three students in a
seat. Today’s 39-inch seats can accommodate three younger students,
two large students or a combination of the two. Arranging and adjusting
seat belts for this combination would be difficult, if not impossible. As
well, it would be difficult for the driver to enforce 60 to 70 students to
put on their seat belts and keep them on. Also, compartmentalization,
once it has done its energy-absorbing job, leaves the students free to
escape the bus. Seat belts could leave students strapped in, perhaps
upside down and in a bus that has caught fire.
Can my child be dropped off at a different stop or go on another bus?
Students must ride on their assigned buses only. Parents can request a
different existing stop on the same route, but it must be consistent every
day. Students are not allowed to go on other buses for reasons such as
birthday parties, sleepovers, etc.
What if my child left something on the bus? (e.g. books, an instrument)
Drivers check their buses at the end of each route. Items left on the bus
will remain on the bus for several days and children are encouraged to
ask the driver if they have found the item. After a certain period, drivers
take unclaimed items to the office, and at the end of the school year the
items are donated to charity. You can help by labelling all of your child’s
belongings with their name and perhaps the school name.
Where can I find more information on school bus transportation
in the division?
You can find more information, such as transportation policies and
weather cancellations on our website at As well,
you may call the transportation department at 204.669.0202.
1. The decision to close schools and/or cancel transportation will be
made by the superintendent in consultation with the director of
2. The decision to close, if it is made, will be conveyed to the
transportation supervisor in Sunrise School Division for its students
transported to River East Transcona schools.
3. An announcement will be posted on the RETSD website.
4. The decision will be communicated to the media:
CFQX (QX) 104 FM
CFRW 1290
CFWM (BOB) 99.9
CJKR (Power) 97
CKMM (Virgin) 103
CKSB (French)
CKY 102 (Clear) FM
Envol 91 (French)
Global News
Winnipeg Free Press online
5. All parents and staff are asked to listen to the media for
announcements regarding school closings and/or cancellation of
6. If it is necessary to close schools or bus students home early during
the day because of severe weather conditions, schools will be
contacted by phone by the superintendent’s department.
7. In the event that transportation is cancelled in the morning, this
cancellation will apply for the whole day.
For more details on bus cancellation, see Policy EEAEF—Bus Cancellation
at > Parents & Students > Policies.
Note regarding extreme wind chill: The transportation department will
monitor the wind chill at 6 a.m. using Environment Canada weather
statistics from The Forks. If at that time the wind chill is -45°C or colder,
the decision to cancel bus transportation will be made.
Transportation Department
2057 Camsell Ave.
East St. Paul, MB, R2E 1G2
Tel: 204.669.0202
Fax: 204.663.7731
589 Roch St., Winnipeg, MB, R2K 2P7 | Tel: 204.667.7130 | Fax: 204.661.5618
For questions and comments, please contact RETSD communications.
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