Please scroll through this FAQ for the following:

  • Contacting Transportation
  • Bus Stop Change Request
  • Service Standards
  • Assigned Bus Stop and Student Pick Up Time
  • Cancel/Stop/Resume Special Transportation
  • Bus Seating and Capacities
  • Seating Assignments
  • Return Home Plan for Young Children
  • One-Way Ride Time
  • Stop Variation
  • Parents Riding the Bus
  • Visiting Students
  • Homeless Students
  • Items Prohibited on the Bus

Contacting the Transportation

Transportation’s phone number is 676-6546.

The Transportation phone system has an answering service that is turned on after hours. Messages to cancel transportation or restart transportation can be left on this system.

Bus Stop Change Request

Once established, bus stops will be modified only under the following conditions:

  • Safety concern-conditions at the established bus stop do not meet the bus stop selection criteria as defined by the District guidelines.
  • Property owner complaint – upon receipt of a concern from a resident adjacent or close by an established bus stop; if after working with the students and schools associated with the bus stop the concern cannot be resolved a relocation of the stop will be considered.
  • Requests for stop location changes may be submitted to the Transportation Office for review by completing a stop change request form. A written response will be sent to the requester.
  • Students who do not use their assigned school bus may have their bus stop removed when doing so will result in reduced operating cost. Prior to a bus stop being removed, parents/guardians will be advised of the plan to remove the stop from service. Parents/guardians will be able to request reinstatement at a later date. Service will be restored within 5 working days of the request.

Service Standards
Eligibilityfor bus transportation is based on the following:

1.0 mile from the school they attend. Exceptions are allowed in the following areas:

  • Students residing in designated safety areas.
  • Special Education students who are not ambulatory and/or who are not capable of protecting their own welfare while traveling to and from school as determined by their Individualized Education Plan (I.E.P.)

Assigned Bus Stop and Pick Up Time

Each student is assigned one stop. This is their primary stop that drivers will pick the student up at and drop them off at. The stop the student uses in the morning can be different from the stop they use in the afternoon.

Late Bus

Drivers will run routes as scheduled. However, due to traffic and other unforeseen circumstances buses could run behind and or have mechanical problems. Students should remain at the stop for a minimum of 20 minutes if a bus is late. Once a problem is identified a new bus will be dispatched to finish the route or make up time.

Missed Bus 

Buses stop at assigned stops when students are present. Buses will stop at an empty stop if the bus is early. If your student is not at the bus stop at the prescribed time and misses the bus, you will have to provide your own transportation. Buses will not be turned around to pick up a missed stop.

Cancel/Stop/Resume Special Transportation
When canceling Special Transportation identify the student, bus #, and what portion of the transportation you are canceling (AM only, AM and PM, PM only)

In case of prolonged sickness or recovery Transportation can be put on hold until further notice at the request of a parent. Special transportation will be put on hold if there is no phone call and no pick up after three (3) days.

Bus Seating and Capacities
The basic seating guideline for the District is: for students from Kindergarten through grade 5, three students to a standard (30 inch width) seat; for grade 6 through 12, two to a seat: allowances, depending on student size and seating space are granted. No standees are permitted on school buses. Drivers will not overload a bus. If an overload exists an additional bus will be dispatched.

Seating Assignments
Drivers will separate students by grade level. Younger students will ride in the front and older students will ride in the back of the bus whenever populations are combined. If an older sibling wishes to sit with younger sibling they will sit in the younger section. Students that have demonstrated poor behavior can be assigned a seat temporarily or permanently.

Return Home Plan for Young Children
We care about your children and want to ensure that every family has developed a safe “Return Home Plan” from school, whether your child walks, rides the bus, or is picked up.

The safety of your child is our primary concern. Bus drivers will help kindergarteners and other young children learn to ride the bus. It is very important that you or a designated adult be at the bus stop a few minutes before the drop-off time if you plan to greet your child. In the past, children have been returned to school when a parent/guardian is not present at the bus stop. This was a practice that we used when kindergarten was not full-time and there was  midday drop-off. Now that all young children are released at the same time, Transportation is unable to continue this practice because is not possible for bus drivers to track all of the parent/guardian requests for children to be dropped off with siblings, caretakers, friends or other adults. It also requires additional staff time to supervise children when they are returned to school. If the parent/guardian is unable to meet the child at the bus stop for drop-off, it is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to train their child what steps to take, such as walking in groups with other children or going to a neighbor’s house.

Bellingham Public Schools is unable to assume responsibility for a child who is dropped off at a designated bus stop after school when a parent/guardian is not present. It is not recommended, implied or otherwise, that kindergarteners or other young children are capable of attending to their own needs for extended periods of time. However, it is up to the parent/guardian to decide the maturity level of their child and to make childcare arrangements when the parent/guardian is unable to meet their child at the bus stop.

One-Way Ride Time
All routes will be designed to operate 60 minutes or less where feasible. Ride time is defined as the time the first student boards the bus until the bus arrives at school in the A.M. or in the P.M., the time the bus leaves the school until the last student is dropped off the bus. (Feasible means ride time for 90% of a given route’s population shall not exceed the time standards.)

Stop Variation
Stop variance slips can be issued by the school only. A letter granting permission for your student to use a different stop should be given to the school. The school will issue a variance slip to your student and that will that will be given to the driver. These slips are good for one trip.

Parents Riding the Bus
Parents or Guardians can ride the bus as chaperones on approved trips. Parents are not authorized to ride on regular routes unless the Superintendent grants permission.

Visiting Students
Students that do not usually ride the bus can use Stop Variance slips to ride home with a friend. This is granted on a space available basis and will be the first removed from the bus in the case of an overflow.

Homeless Students
Transportation will be provided to homeless students per district policy. Whenever possible the transportation will be on a normal established route. Other options available to homeless students include:

  • In-Lieu-of payment: The Transportation Department will pay parents to drive their student to and from school.
  • Public Transportation: The Transportation Department will issue monthly bus passes to students.
  • Special Transportation: A space will be made available on a special service bus to transport the student to school.

Items Prohibited on the Bus

Washington State Administrative Code 392-145 prohibits the transport of heavy, sharp, bulky, or other items in the passenger area of any school bus that may be hazardious in the event of an accident or emergency stop.  This includes curriculum related items such as large musical instruments (maximum size dimensions are 36″x10″x8″)

Items that are carried on the bus must be able to sit on your students lap and be secured by your student at all times.

Items prohibited (not an inclusive list but the most common seen)

  • Skateboards
  • Roller Skates
  • Kites
  • Breakable containers
  • Skis & Ski Poles
  • Plant life of any kind
  • Weapons or firearms
  • Flammables
  • Vaulting poles & Javelins