Operating Procedure: HS-2-005 – Bus Operator and Driver Responsibilities


School bus operators and bus drivers shall abide by the terms and conditions of Agreement for Transportation between the Operator and HSTS and all Acts and Regulations pertaining to school bus transportation.


School bus operators shall:

1. abide by the policies and procedures of HSTS;

2. consistently adhere to the bus routes and schedules set out by HSTS;

3. ensure drivers are provided with up to date route copies, including seating plans;

4. ensure drivers are provided with copies of Student Travel Plans, Medical Plans of Care and all other attachments that HSTS has provided access to via BusPlanner Web for students on their buses; 

5. report all school bus route delays and cancellations on the HSTS website as soon as possible;

6. maintain effective and open communication with parents/ guardians, to inform them about delays on bus routes. This communication must be maintained up until the last student gets off the bus, whatever time of day this may be;

7. take all necessary steps as stipulated in Operating Procedure HS-4-005 – Accident/Incident, in the event of an accident;

8. maintain their vehicles and ensure that bus drivers drive them according to the requirements of the Public Vehicles Act and the regulations hereunder, and any other public vehicles laws and any transportation rules established by HSTS;

9. report all accidents and incidents in the format designated by HSTS as outlined in Operating Procedure HS-4-005 – Accident/Incident;

10. be familiar with and adhere to Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) specifically as it relates to a      professional’s duty to report;

11. provide HSTS with the following documents:

a) confirmation that each bus driver holds a valid Class B or E driver’s license allowing him/her to drive a school bus;
b) proof of insurance as required by the Public Vehicles Act on or before September 1st annually;
c) a current copy of its drivers’ training manual and provide updates to the Consortium as they are issued;
d) confirmation that all drivers have Vulnerable Sector Screening.

12. instruct every driver under each Operator’s control to conduct or cause to be conducted a prescribed inspection of the vehicle driven by the driver prior to the vehicle being driven as per the Highway Traffic Act;

13. make sure to keep the vehicles clean and free of any hazards; and

14. not refuse transportation to an eligible student for any reason whatsoever.  Student misconduct must be reported to the school principal, who will be responsible for taking the necessary disciplinary measures.

Bus drivers shall:

1. obey the Highway Traffic Act at all times;

2. adhere to the schedules that have been established by HSTS;

3. immediately notify their dispatch office to make them aware of any delay beyond 5-7 minutes in the event that the route needs to be posted on the HSTS website;

4. if a seating plan is in place, remind students they must sit in their assigned seat;

5. pick up and drop off students only at the bus stops designated by HSTS; bus drivers are prohibited from adding and/or changing bus stop locations.

6. ensure all students are seated before leaving the bus stop or school;

7. follow the routes that have been planned and approved by HSTS. Bus drivers are not authorized to make any changes to the itinerary, except in unavoidable situations such as an act of God;

8. inform their dispatch office or manager of any route or bus stop concerns;

9. ensure that students are never left alone on a school bus;

10. ensure that the number of passengers on his/her bus never exceed the manufacturer’s rated seating capacity; drivers must not permit standees or allow students to sit in the aisle;

11. refuse to allow any unauthorized persons to board the vehicle when students are on the bus;

12. perform the required pre-trip inspection of their vehicle each morning before they begin their route;

13. at the end of each trip, after the last student has been dropped off, always check the bus seats to make sure that no students have fallen asleep or are hiding, and that no objects have been left behind by students;

14. keep the vehicles clean and free of any hazards;

15. use an appropriate tone of voice and vocabulary when speaking to all stakeholders (students, parents/guardians, school board/consortia staff and the general public); refrain from shouting, swearing, using offensive language or aggressive tone;

16. allow the students to speak amongst themselves in their preferred language of choice;

17. from the first day of school, inform the students about the safety rules;

18. regulate behaviour on board the bus and report any discipline/behaviour issues in cooperation with the school principal;

19. notify the school principal in writing about any inappropriate or unsafe behaviour by students/parents using the appropriate form as outlined in Operating Procedure HS-2-008 – Disciplinary Action;

20. avoid stopping or starting abruptly;

21. drivers of accessible vehicles are solely responsible for operating the wheelchair lift and ensuring wheelchairs and approved scooters are properly secured before moving the vehicle;

22. drivers of accessible vehicles must ensure only students in an approved wheelchair or scooter use the wheelchair lift;

23. activate the red flashing lights before stopping the bus to allow students to board or disembark, a general guideline is one bus length for every 10 km of posted speed;

24. as soon as the bus stops, activate the stop signal arm;

25. give students the ‘universal wave’ signal to indicate when it is completely safe to cross the street  and wait for the student to cross before deactivating the warning light/stop arm and moving the bus again;

26. check his/her west coast, crossover, and convex rear view mirrors and make sure that the road is clear and there are no students near the bus, paying special attention to the danger zone, before moving the vehicle;

27. ensure that students remain seated until the bus comes to a full stop at its destination;

28. never leave his/her vehicle when the engine is running or when students are on, entering or exiting the bus;

29. notify the bus operator as soon as possible, in the event of a breakdown or an emergency;

30. be prohibited from smoking/vaping on school buses and school property;

31. be prohibited from driving the school bus under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances;

32. refrain from using cell phones or similar devices, including hands free, while the vehicle is in motion. If an emergency call must be placed, the driver must pull over to the side of the road, activate the emergency signals, secure the bus and then place the emergency call;

33. to their best efforts, ensure that students enrolled in Junior or Senior Kindergarten are met (however it is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to meet their child at the stop). If the driver is aware the parent of a JK or SK student is not present they must inform their dispatch office who in turn will telephone the school to inform the staff that the student will remain on the bus and will be brought back to school;

34. in the event of an accident or incident involving the school bus or students, the driver must follow the procedures outlined in Operating Procedure HS-4-005 – Accident/Incident pertaining to accident and incident reporting;

35. be prohibited of the photography of students; and

36. not deny a student access to the bus without authorization from the school principal or HSTS. The bus driver must always take students to their destination. If a student displays unruly behaviour, contact their dispatch office, who will in turn contact HSTS for direction.

Revised: January 2022


Operating Procedure: HS-2-005 – Bus Operator and Driver Responsibilities