Frequently Asked Questions – Answer most of your questions here.
General & Safety
The Member School Boards determined a reasonable walking distance for students. The minimum walking distances for students to walk to school are:
- JK – SK – 250 meters to a bus stop
- Grades 1 -3 – 1.0 km
- Grades 4 – 8 – 1.6 km
- Grades 9 – 12 – 2.5 km
Parents of a child within the designated walking requirements have the primary duty of care to ensure the safe arrival of their child to school.
What are the walk to stop distances for students?
Where possible, we plan central stops which are approximately half the walking distance for each grade group:
- JK-SK – 0.25 km
- Grades 1 to 3 – 0.5 km
- Grades 4 to 8 – 0.8 km
- Grades 9 to 12 – 1.25 km
Non-eligible riders are not permitted to ride a school bus or school purpose vehicle unless they qualify for the courtesy riding.
Upon the completion of the Courtesy Seat Request (Form), signed by the parent or guardian, permission may be granted for a grade 1 student who is not eligible for transportation or a grade 4 student whose transportation address exceeds 1 kilometre who is not eligible for transportation to ride a bus to and/or from school providing all of the following conditions are met and understood:
- a seat is available on the bus;
- the bus stop already exists;
- the parent or guardian accepts responsibility for accompanying the student to/from the existing bus stop;
- the bus route and the length of the trip are not affected;
- the need has been identified for the entire school year;
- permission is granted for the current school year only;
Courtesy seat applications will be accepted at the Sudbury Student Services Consortium commencing June 1st annually for the following school year.
Kindergarten students will be required to walk to/from regular school bus stops for the morning pick-up and afternoon drop-off.
Students can be transported to an alternate address, for example to a sitter, daycare or dual custody provided that the locations are within the school boundaries and the request is made by the parent/guardian.
Transportation services may be provided in cases of short term disability – i.e. broken leg in a cast, provided that the student mobility allows for boarding and disembarking of the school bus. Students may be required to make their way to an existing bus stop.
The length of time for a student to ride on a vehicle will normally not exceed 60 minutes one way for kindergarten to grade 6 students and 75 minutes for students in grades 7 to 12.
The length of ride time is calculated based on normal traffic and weather conditions. For students who reside in remote or isolated areas, or attend specialized programs, ride times may exceed the above guidelines.
The following factors are considered when planning school bus routes:
- grade, age, health and physical condition of the passengers
- condition of the roads to be traveled
- school schedule
- distances between homes and schools
- number and size of available buses
- number of passengers to be served
- size of area
- location of bus stops
- seasonal conditions (such as snow banks)
- location of safe turn-around points
You may choose a stop other than the one assigned provided it is an existing eligible stop on a route serving your child’s school.
Students are held accountable to the school principal for their actions while on a vehicle. All applicable school policies and procedures are to be adhered to, and situations of misbehavior or misconduct are to be remedied by the principal.
Only in situations where eligibility for service qualifies them. Should the eligibility requirements or schools differ, transportation routing may be on different vehicles.
Drivers are employees of the transportation company and are not authorized to make any changes or accommodate requests. Transportation companies are under contract with the Sudbury Student Services Consortium and therefore both the carrier and the driver must comply with the Sudbury Student Services Consortium’s policies and terms of the contract. A driver cannot and will not authorize requests. It would be inappropriate to place the driver in jeopardy through demands contrary to policy or to their conditions of employment.
Any request for a change to a stop location or for the addition of a bus stop must be submitted to the Sudbury Student Services Consortium. After reviewing the request, the Sudbury Student Services Consortium will decide whether the request will be approved or denied. Notification will then be given to the person making the request, the transportation company and the school. All stops must be authorized by the Sudbury Student Services Consortium so that we can maintain accurate bus route information.
The Sudbury Student Services Consortium owes a duty of care to students from the point at which time they board a “contracted” vehicle until the student disembarks at school.
Parents have the primary duty of care up to the point at which students enter a “contracted” vehicle, and/or if their child is required to walk to school, up to the time they enter the closest entrance to school property.
All students must face challenges/obstacles after school hours, on weekends, and holiday periods, including the summer months. Children’s awareness of these and other hazards is essential to minimizing exposure to risk throughout the day. Also, many students who are eligible for transportation services will find alternative means to and from school from time to time in order to accommodate their personal schedules and interests, ie., extra-curricular activities, clubs, work schedules, sporting activities, music, etc. Parents have the primary duty of care in those cases.
Hazards that are being identified by parents, such as:
- no sidewalks
- Wild life (Bears)
- traffic speed
- no posted school signage
- no cross walks
- no crossing guards
- no railroad crossing controls
are not a part of the Sudbury Student Services Consortium’s mandate to rectify. These identified hazards are under the jurisdiction of regional and municipal governments/agencies. Only through their efforts can long-term solutions be achieved. The Sudbury Student Services Consortium will forward parental concerns onto the municipality, both for their awareness and consideration for action. The Sudbury Student Services Consortium is prepared to support parents and communities in an effort to have the regional municipalities recognize the identified safety concerns so that they may be adequately addressed.
Many dead end streets cannot accommodate safe turn around points for buses and create issues during inclement weather. Students may therefore be required to meet the bus at an intersection.
Temporary changes cannot be accommodated unless for a duration of no less than one month and must also meet the transportation policy guidelines.
My son plays hockey after school and has been told that he can’t bring his hockey equipment on the bus. Why is this a problem?
Aisles must be kept clear of obstacles at all times. Skis, ski poles, snowshoes, sleighs, hockey bags, or skateboards are strictly prohibited at all times. Only small items that can be easily placed on a students lap will be permitted.
Eating and drinking are not allowed on the bus for safety reasons. A child could choke on a piece of food and with the high seat backs and noise on the bus, the driver may not be aware of the situation until it is too late. Left over food and drink not only causes a mess, but can attract bees and wasps. Some students have a very severe reaction to bee stings and to some foods such as peanut butter. It is safer for everyone when the no eating and drinking rule is adhered to.
Stops are created centrally to accommodate a multiple number of students. It is recommended that bus stops be a minimum of 300 meters (1,000 feet) apart and shall allow a minimum of 150 meters (500 feet) of clear vision in both directions. Bus stops should not be located on a steep grade, brow of a hill or on a blind curve.
The parent/guardian is responsible for the safety and conduct of the child/children on the way to and from the bus stop and while they are waiting at the bus stop.
Measurement of distance for eligibility purposes will be determined from the municipal road in front of the student’s residence to the nearest, maintained entrance to the school, via the shortest route using both roadways and maintained pathways/walkways.
All buses built since 1980 meet safety standards developed by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA D-250) and set by Transport Canada.
The size and bright yellow color make school buses very visible.
The school bus is designed to protect passengers from impact. The floor is raised, the window glass is shatter-proof, and there are strengthened reinforcements along the sides of the bus.
The flashing lights and stop arm warn motorists that they must stop for a stopped school bus.
The high penalty (six demerit points and a substantial fine) acts as an effective deterrent to motorists who might fail to stop for a school bus.
School bus drivers receive special training and licensing, rigorous examinations and must maintain a good driving record.
Motorists in both directions meeting a stopped school bus with its overhead red signal lights flashing and stop arm extended must stop. The law applies everywhere, regardless of the posted speed limit – on highways, country roads, city, town or village streets. Only motorists travelling in oncoming traffic seperated by a median strip are not required to stop.
Some parents are surprised to find that while seat belt use is mandatory in passenger vehicles, their children travel unrestrained on a school bus. School buses are designed to protect passengers through “compartmentalization”. This means that school buses have:
- seats with high backs;
- seats positioned close together to form compartments;
- seats filled with energy-absorbing material;
- strong seat anchorages.
Parents also need to be aware of additional information about seat belts:
- To be effective, seat belts must be worn correctly (snug and low on the hips for full protection. Seat belts which are not correctly worn may cause injuries.)
- Because school vehicles carry passengers from the very young to high school students, seat belt fit must be readjusted and use monitored to ensure safety.
- Because of increased use, seat belts on school buses are subject to more wear and tear, and their condition must be monitored.
- The Sudbury Student Services Consortium is working with Transport Canada on a pilot project evaluating the use of seatblets on somes buses. You will be receiving information if your child boards one of these vehicles.
Most injuries to school vehicle passengers occur outside the school bus, as students are entering or leaving the bus, or crossing the street. Many of these mishaps can be prevented through education.
School vehicle safety can be improved by teaching children the correct procedures and proper behavior around school buses. Children should learn:
- to be at the school bus stop on time (5-10 mins. prior to scheduled pick up time);
- to wait in a safe place well back from the side of the road;
- to know the danger zones around the bus where the driver cannot see them;
- to enter the bus in single file, holding onto the handrail;
- to find a seat right away, and stay seated, facing forward at all times;
- to make sure that there is nothing in the aisle;
- to do what the bus driver says;
- that it is unsafe to distract the driver;
- that throwing things, misbehavior and eating, drinking or smoking are not allowed;
- to keep heads and arms inside the bus.
Children leaving the bus must be careful:
- If they can touch the bus, they are too close.
- They should stay away from the side of the road, not play on snow banks.
- If children drop something near the bus, they must learn to leave it and inform an adult; they should never pick it up because they may be out of the driver’s sight.
If children must cross the street:
- Children must walk at least ten feet in front of the bus along the side of the crossing arm and look at the driver before crossing.
- Children should look for a signal from the driver before walking across the street.
- Children should look all ways before crossing the roadway.
- Parents should meet children on the side of the street where the bus stops.
During the year, there may be changes in bus stop locations due to the changing student population.
Your child’s route may have to be modified due to new students, or as a result of operation issues throughout the year. Parents will receive information concerning any changes that occur from the Sudbury Student Services Consortium. This information may also be communicated to parents/guardians in the form of an automated messaging system, or an email.
Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Consortium at the beginning of August. They may also see their child’s transportation information on the Parent Portal.
Check the bus delays on the Consortium’s website or on the mTransport app first, if there are no delays, communicate immediately with the Sudbury Student Services Consortium at (705)521-1234 or toll free at 1-877-225-1196.
As a parent you should remind your children to be extra careful when getting on and off the school bus. Always have them take a second look for traffic before crossing the road.
Also, remind your children to follow the school bus safety rules learned at school. Encourage them to help the driver keep his/her attention on the driving task, children can do this by behaving, being as quiet as possible and remaining seated, facing the front, until it is time to leave the bus. Parents should also view the safety videos posted on our website.
Please call us at (705) 521-1234. We will have knowledgeable bilingual staff on hand to answer your questions from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM – Monday through Friday on regular school days.
If you have a concern regarding the driving ability of your child’s bus driver, the Sudbury Student Services Consortium should be contacted. When a concern is received by this office, the bus operator is contacted and the situation is investigated.
If you have a concern regarding student behaviour on the bus, you should contact the school. The bus is considered an extension of the classroom and the Principal of the school is responsible for the student behavior issues.
No. When students lose their bus riding privileges, they are not allowed to ride on any bus. They are also not allowed to ride buses for field trips and to sporting events. Students are expected to attend school during the loss of riding privileges and parents/guardians are responsible for their transportation to and from school.
Parents are requested to fill out the “Request For Stop Location Review” form on the website.
The stop location will be reviewed by a Transportation Planner and a decision will be made and communicated to the parent/guardian.
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 Sudbury Student Services Consortium may not consider these types of situations as safety concerns in and of themselves.
Due to the volume of requests for stop location reviews received in September, these may only be reviewed in October.
It typically takes 2 school days to organize transportation arrangements once the Sudbury Student Services Consortium receives the information from the parent/guardian.
Routes are prepared prior to the start of the school year. Because route arrangements have already been completed, altering arrangements requires communication between the bus company and the Sudbury Student Services Consortium and may impact other children already scheduled on the vehicle. In light of the above, and due to the volume of requests, during the months of August and September, it can take up to 15 business days. You will be contacted with the new arrangements once finalized.
Please contact the Sudbury Student Services Consortium to discuss your concern.
Students are required to board the bus at least twice weekly in order to maintain their rider privilege.
The Sudbury Student Services Consortium will make every effort to announce the decision to cancel school buses before the start of the school day between 6:00 am and 7:00 am and as such, will forward announcements to the local radio stations and will post the information on the Sudbury Student Services Consortium’s website.
The Sudbury Student Services Consortium is required to make the decision very early since many students who reside in outlying communities are picked up quite early. Some school bus drivers are on the roads as early as 5:30 am in order to arrive at their first stop on time.
It is ultimately up to the parents/guardians to make the final decision to send their children to school during inclement weather.
Yes, school buses are equipped with block heaters and are plugged in during the winter months.
School purpose vehicles must comply with pollution emission restrictions. The emission restrictions provide a healthier ride to and from school; however, they reduce the engine’s ability to produce heat inside the school bus on very cold days.
When school bus transportation is cancelled in the morning is it always cancelled in the afternoon?
Most of the time when school bus transportation is cancelled in the morning it is also cancelled in the afternoon. On very rare occasions, when the safety of students can be assured, the afternoon transportation may run. For example, extreme cold in the morning and a significant change in weather before the end of the school day may permit school bus transportation in the afternoon.
During extreme cold weather or severe weather storm conditions, we recommend that parents remind their children of possible vehicle (bus) breakdown or delays. Parents are advised to exercise their own discretion as to how long their children should wait for a school bus in inclement weather. Parents should ensure that their children are dressed appropriately and have a back-up plan in place to allow for unforeseen circumstances.
If inclement weather prevents buses from doing their morning and afternoon routes, parents who choose to transport their children to school must be prepared to pick up their children at the end of the school day.
The decision to cancel school transportation services involves a number of people and is never taken lightly. Safety Officers, School Bus Operators, and Managers are on the roads as early as 4:00 am in order to report road conditions to the Sudbury Student Services Consortium by 5 am. The Consortium also reviews Environment Canada’s Weather Warnings and investigates road conditions in different areas (i.e. Ministry of Transportation, Regional and Provincial Police statements, etc.)
Once bus companies report their findings to the Consortium, a variety of other factors are taken into consideration prior to the decision being made:
Road Conditions – Often buses are on the roads before sanding and snow removal crews have begun their work.
Snow and Ice Accumulation – Inclines, bridges, curbs and ramps can also pose as a danger.
Weather Conditions in Specific Areas – It is possible that some areas may not be affected by bad weather. However, outlying area secondary school bus runs are also used to transport elementary students from different areas. As a result, cancellation of transportation services may be unavoidable.