Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions. If you don’t see your question here, please contact us. Click on the title to view the answer.
Boundaries & Addresses
Who determines transportation eligibility?
The School Boards set the home to school distance criteria. Distances vary based on grade and whether it is an urban or rural setting. The distance criterion for both member boards is outlined in the HSTS Policy Statement which can be located under the Policies/Procedures tab. The role of HSTS is to administer the member boards’ transportation policies, HSTS does not have the authority to change the distance criteria or grant an exception to the Policy. (top)
What is a student’s ‘primary’ address?
The primary residential address is the address on file with the school for your student. Transportation eligibility is based on this address. Your child can only have one primary address. (top)
What is an attendance boundary?
Each School Board sets an attendance boundary for the school. Children who reside within the attendance boundary are entitled to attend that school. Please contact your school board regarding the school attendance boundaries. (top)
What is a transportation boundary?
The transportation boundary is the boundary that determines transportation eligibility and is based on the distance criteria outlined in the School Board’s Transportation Policy. (top)
I am moving. Who do I need to notify?
Contact the school and register your child, or, if the school remains unchanged, provide the new address information to the existing school. HSTS arranges transportation based on the information provided by the school and does not take change of address information from the parent/guardian over the phone for security reasons. (top)
How long does it take for transportation arrangements to come into effect?
It typically takes 5 business days to organize transportation arrangements once HSTS receives the information from the school. In September changes may take up to 15 business days.
Routes are prepared prior to the start of the school year. Once the annual route arrangements have been completed (generally August 15th annually), altering arrangements requires communication between the bus company, HSTS and the other students/schools that are on the route. Changes may impact other children already scheduled on the vehicle as well as children attending different schools. In light of the above, and due to the volume of requests received during the month of September, route changes may take up to 15 business days. (top)
I want my child dropped off at a different address. What do I need to do?
Transportation to an alternate address can be arranged if the following conditions are met:
- The student’s primary address is eligible for transportation to the Board designated school.
- The alternate address is located within the school transportation boundary for the same Board designated school.
- The alternate address is used consistently every day, Monday through Friday, every week for the school year.
- No new stops or runs will be created for alternate addresses. The child will be required to use the closest existing stop.
- Complete the Courtesy Seat request form; drop the completed form off at the school. The principal must authorize the form and then forward to HSTS for processing. Courtesy Seat forms are available under the policies/forms tab)
- The school will contact you with the new arrangements once finalized. (top)
Can my eligible child get on at the designated bus stop from our home and get off at a different bus stop on the same day?
The following conditions have to be met:
- The primary address must be eligible for transportation.
- Complete the Courtesy Seat request form available under at the school. The school will send it to HSTS for consideration and approval, noting the conditions for an alternate address must be met. (The alternate address is used consistently every day, Monday through Friday, every week for the school year with no new stops or runs created)
- Courtesy Seats are not approved or allocated until October. The month of September is reserved for dealing with students who are eligible for transportation and new registrations. (top)
Why can’t my child eat on the bus?
Children cannot eat or drink on the bus. First of all there is the possibility that your child will choke and the driver will either not see them or will be in an area where they cannot safely stop the bus. In addition to the choking hazard and equally important, there are many students who share the same vehicle, some of which have life threatening allergies. We want to try to minimize the risk for all passengers, your child and those who have life threatening food allergies. We ask that you please reinforce this very important rule with your child, it may save someone’s life!
I do not think the bus stop location is safe. What can I do?
Fill out the bus stop request form, under the policies/forms tab. Bus stop requests received in September will be reviewed starting in October and may take a month to be completed due to the large volume of requests received.
The stop location will be reviewed by the Regional Transportation Officer who makes a determination based on several factors, (eg. distance to stop policy, sight lines, distance between stops, other students assigned to stop, etc.). The decision may or may not result in the stop being changed. Requests for bus stop location changes for convenience purposes will not be considered.
The types of concerns typically raised by parents are no sidewalks, traffic speed, no posted school zone signs, no cross walks, no crossing guards, no railroad crossing signs and/or construction. These potential concerns are under the jurisdiction of the municipality and HSTS may not consider these types of situations as safety concerns in and of themselves. (top)
How does Halton Student Transportation Services select a bus stop location?
Many factors are considered when selecting bus stop locations. HSTS is responsible for selecting stop locations and considers road & traffic conditions, size of the bus, distance between stops, sight lines and overall safety. Community stops are selected whenever possible, meaning accessible for more than one student. In a rural environment, the bus will pick up close to the residence, but is not required to stop directly at the residence. In rural areas where there are groupings of homes, community stops will be established. Bus stops will not be located in townhouse complexes, cul-de-sacs or constructions areas including new housing developments. (top)
My child left their backpack on the bus. Who do I contact?
Can I make special arrangements directly with the bus driver?
No. The bus driver is an employee of the bus company and the bus company is under contract with HSTS. HSTS develops and monitors the routes on an ongoing basis. HSTS does not permit the bus driver or bus company to make, alter or amend the service provided. All changes to the routes, including the student stop assignment must be arranged through HSTS. Student bus stop assignments are based on the student’s primary address. (top)
I have a concern with the bus driver. Who do I contact to remedy this situation?
Contact HSTS if you have a concern regarding your child’s bus driver. When a concern is received it is formally documented, the bus operator is contacted and the situation is investigated. You must provide your child’s name, route number, time and date of occurrence as well as a detailed description of what occurred. Bus drivers are employed by the bus company; HSTS does not have the authority to terminate employment.
If you have a concern regarding student behaviour on the bus, please contact the principal. The school bus is considered an extension of the school day and as such the students are responsible to the principal or their designate for their behaviour. The principal/designate has the authority to revoke individual student transportation privileges should student responsibilities not be met.
Any serious allegation (e.g. assault) must be reported to the local authorities for investigation. (top)
Do I have to call someone to register my child to ride on the bus?
No, our transportation system automatically assigns students who are eligible for transportation to the closest bus stop to their primary address based on the school board’s transportation policy. (top)
Will my child have the same route number and bus driver morning and afternoon?
Not necessarily, generally the route numbers the students are assigned to are different morning and afternoon, this means you will probably have different bus drivers and possibly a different bus company in the morning and afternoon. It is very important that you take note of your child’s morning and afternoon route numbers in the event that you have to contact the bus company. (top)
Can I drive my child to the bus stop?
We encourage you to walk with your children to the bus stop however, if you must drive please park away from the designated bus stop, do not block driveways or Double Park and please make sure you arrive in plenty of time, the bus driver cannot pull over to let your child on the bus if you are running late. Make sure you do not block the bus and remember, you must not pass the bus when the lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, it’s the law! (top)
I have an infant at home; can I have a closer bus stop?
No, your child’s transportation is governed by the same policies as other families who do not have infants at home. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to get your child to and from the bus stop in both the morning and afternoon.
I provide daycare in my home for children attending different schools; can I have a closer bus stop?
The distance to stop policy applies equally to parents and daycare providers, therefore you are required to use the designated stop for the area. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to get to and from the bus stop in both the morning and afternoon. As the designated guardian of the students for which you provide daycare services it is your responsibility to ensure their safe arrival and departure at the respective bus stop locations in the morning and afternoon. (top)
Is it ok if I wait for my child across the street from their bus stop in the afternoon?
We encourage you to wait on the same side of the road where your child will be exiting the bus. The reason for this is to eliminate the risk of your child running across the street to meet you. You can then cross the street with your child after the bus driver have given the ‘all clear’ signal that it is safe to cross (all traffic is stopped).
If your child must cross the street, please reinforce with them that they must stay away from the danger zone, cross in front of the crossing gate and wait for the bus driver’s signal that it is safe to cross. (top)