Frequently Asked Questions about Transportation
Q. Where is the Transportation Administrative Office located?
A. The Transportation Department has two locations; one in American Fork (1405 S 100 E) and one in Saratoga Springs (200 W 400 N adjacent to Westlake High School). The American Fork location serves students who attend district schools located in Alpine, American Fork, Cedar Hills, Highland, Lindon, Orem, Pleasant Grove and Vineyard. The Saratoga Springs location serves students who attend district schools located in the cities of Cedar Fort, Eagle Mountain, Lehi and Saratoga Springs.
Q. How do I find out what bus my child will ride this year?
A. Please visit the Alpine School District website (http://alpineschools.org) for information on bus routes. Transportation continually updates bus routing information on the website. The bulk of route changes are made during the summer and the first month of school so we encourage parents to also check the website during this time rather than relying solely on last year’s stop information. This applies to regular education students. Special needs bus service is door-to-door; you will receive forms from the Special Education Department if your child is eligible for this service–please fill these forms out and return them as soon as possible. Once your child has been assigned to a bus, the driver will call you with an approximate pick-up time about a week prior to the start of school or when your child is added during the school year. This may take up to seven (7) business days after the form is received.
Q. I live less than two miles from my child’s school, is he/she eligible for transportation?
A. By law, the State of Utah provides transportation funding only for regular education secondary students that live 2 or more miles from the school and regular education elementary students that live more than 1.5 miles from the school. Special needs students are transported based on their IEP and regardless of distance from the school.
Q. How is a bus stop location determined?
A. Bus stops are located as a function of safety, efficiency, neighborhood logistics, State regulations, and Transportation requirements. We try to locate bus stops so as to serve the entire needs of a neighborhood for years to come. They are not located as a function of personal convenience or schedule.
Q. Who can authorize a bus stop location change?
A. As bus stops are placed as a function of safety and regulation there may both conspicuous and inconspicuous variables involved in the stop placement. If you would like to request a bus stop review, please contact the assigned router in the Transportation Office. Bus drivers cannot add or change bus stops.
Q. Why doesn’t the Transportation Office call me when the bus is delayed in the A.M. or P.M.? Is there a place I can call for information about a bus delay?
A. School buses, like any form of mass transportation, are significantly affected by many uncontrollable factors. These factors may include a shortage of drivers due to sickness or other, weather, season, road repair/closure, traffic conditions, run coverage, etc.
When a bus is running late, the students are instructed to wait at the stop, do not go back home. If the bus is late and the student rides it to school, he/she will not be counted tardy. If the student goes home and then is taken to school the school may count the student tardy.
The Transportation Department strives to keep all our buses running as close to the published time schedule as possible. We do ask that the students arrive five (5) minutes early to the stop location. This ensures that we account for seasonal traffic conditions and differences in individual watch settings.
The latest bus delay information (regular ed buses late 10 minutes or more that dispatch is aware of) is available via our Twitter feed (http://www.twitter.com/ASDbus).We also notify schools as soon as we confirm late buses. If the bus is running more than 10 minutes late and you cannot locate information on our Twitter feed, please call the Transportation Department dispatch at (801) 610-8850 (East) or (801) 610-8852 (West) with the bus number/symbol and school name for more information or an updated arrival time.
Q. My child missed the bus. Can I follow the bus in my car and allow my child to board the bus at another stop?
A. If your child misses the bus, for safety reasons, do not attempt to chase, pass, or block the bus along its route. Any action taken to impede or delay the progress of an official school bus is unlawful. If possible, take a different route to a stop ahead of the bus and let your child board there. 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.
Q. My son/daughter was just going out our front door this morning and the bus driver did not wait. Why?
A. Due to very tight time schedules and extreme traffic conditions; our drivers are trained in accordance with operational policy to leave at the scheduled time and not to wait for late students. For safety and timing reasons, students must be standing at the bus stop when the bus arrives. We do not have the latitude to wait for students to get out of the car, come out of the house, walk over from the next yard etc. Drivers must maintain safety at all times when loading students. If there are stragglers or late students loading, this increases exposure to impatient motorists, which increases the safety risk for the children.
Q. My kindergarten child must be accompanied at the bus stop. What do you do if I have an emergency and I cannot notify you or be there to meet my child?
A. Arrangements must be made to meet your child. Transportation will attempt to deliver the student to the regular bus stop. If no one is there to meet the child we will return the child to the school.
Q. Why does my kindergarten child have to be met at the bus stop?
A. Effective as of the 2011-2012 school year, a designated responsible individual will need to be available to meet the kindergartner at the bus stop. A child of this age simply cannot be left alone at a bus stop due to safety reasons.
Q. Someone told me the bus was late because the run was being “covered.” What does this mean?
A. When there are more school bus drivers out due to illness than we have substitute drivers, we must split up entire bus runs to “cover” all the students in an area and get them to school. This may mean shifting entire loads or just a few stops. This process is a logistical nightmare for our operations staff and drivers, but it is a necessary procedure designed to ensure a timely (although often late) arrival/delivery for students. Where possible, we will send out a substitute driver to cover the route but if it will take too long for them to travel from the bus garage to the route location (or there are no sub drivers available), then we will have drivers already in the area assist in covering the route.
Q. Where can I get a copy of the bus rules?
A. A copy of the bus rules is published annually in the district back to school mailer sent to all homes the last week of July and is also available on the district website (http://alpineschools.org) Additionally, copies of the bus rules are posted in every school bus and all bus drivers review the rules with the students during the first week of school.
Q. If my child goes on a field trip do the same rules of bus discipline apply?
A. Yes, the school bus is considered an extension of the classroom; therefore all the rules apply all of the time.
Q. Can the school bus driver suspend my child from riding the bus?
A. A school bus driver must consult with their supervisor in the Transportation Office before suspending students.
Q. Who is responsible for resolving discipline problems that occur on the bus?
A. Bus drivers attempt to correct inappropriate behavior but it may also require the intervention of a school administrator. All discipline is shared between the Transportation Department, driver, school and parent/guardian.
Q. If the bus has a video camera can parents see the tape?
A. No, parents may not view bus videotapes due to student confidentiality issues. Video recordings of school buses are additional tools school administrators and transportation officials utilize to sample the “total environment” of the bus.
Q. 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?
A. If you would like to talk to a driver about your child, please do not approach the driver at the bus stop. A bus driver is on a very strict timing schedule. Any extra seconds of delay at a bus stop could translate into as much as 30 minutes late arrival at school if each parent of 60 (typical busload) children talked for as little as 30 seconds.
Security and safety of our driver and student passengers are of greatest concern at bus stops. Some parents get very emotional, angry, and try to board the bus. Parents are not allowed on a school bus unless specifically authorized. Parents who decide to board a bus ignoring the warning of the bus driver are subject to arrest and prosecution under the law.
To talk with a driver, please contact the school your child attends and request a conference with the driver. Please provide the bus number and or driver name if possible. It is important to understand that bus drivers are only available for conference between 9:30 AM and 1:30 PM., M-F. Drivers with noon routes are only available until 11 or 11:30 AM.
You may also call the Transportation Office and share your concerns with the driver’s supervisor who will follow up with you and/or the driver as needed.
Q. What happens if a school bus is involved in an accident?
A. Statistically most of the accidents that occur involving school buses are rear end collisions. In all but a few cases, school buses are generally hit in the rear end just before, during, or just after a pupil or railroad stop. Injuries are rare and students are for the most part frightened only.
If your student’s bus is involved in an accident the driver will immediately radio our dispatcher with vital information. The dispatcher will notify the appropriate emergency personnel to respond.
The school the bus was servicing at the time of the accident will be notified and an appropriate school or transportation office representative may be asked to go to the scene of the accident depending on how serious the situation may be.
If your child needs to be transported anywhere for any reason by emergency medical technicians at the scene, we will notify you or the emergency contact as soon as possible.
If your student is not injured you will not be notified and your child will be transported to the school or home as appropriate as soon as a release is given by local law enforcement. Your student will not be counted tardy or absent.
Q. How long does a bus wait before leaving the school when taking kids home?
A. Drivers are required to wait a minimum of 7 minutes after the school bell rings. Special Education buses may leave when all students are loaded.
Q. What should my child do if they miss their take home bus?
A. In the afternoon instruct them to go to the office. They must not walk home!
Q. Why are there bus aides on some buses?
A. As provided by the State of Utah, bus aides are funded for Special Needs buses only. They are there to assist students who have very special needs,physical, medical, etc. Bus aides are not funded for regular education buses.
Q. What training is required to be a school bus driver?
A. A school bus driver goes through more rigorous training than a professional truck driver. A school bus driver must be at least 21 years old and have a Commercial Driving License (C.D.L.) with a School Bus endorsement. They must also have evidence of having successfully completed a physical examination in accordance with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety Regulation. This physical examination must be renewed every two years.
Before new hires can drive a school bus, they must complete 20 hours of pre-service that includes first aid, district procedures and driving and skills appraisal. Within the first 90 days of employment, drivers complete another 26 hours of classroom instruction including a USOE approved defensive driving and canyon driving instruction course.
Re-certification with C.D.L. license renewal occurs at least every 5 years and consists of 30 hours of training and behind the wheel assessment. All drivers must complete eight (8) hours of in-service annually.
All applicant driving records will be researched and any drivers found to have criminal convictions will be terminated. No driver will be hired with a conviction for any of the following offenses: crimes involving violence or threat of violence, driving any vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor within the last 10 years, driving under the influence of habit-forming or illegal drugs during their lifetime, leaving the scene of an injury accident or manslaughter with a motor vehicle, a crime involving the use of a motor vehicle in conjunction with a fatality or a sex offense crime.