Frequently Asked Questions
What are the hours of operation for the Transportation Department?
The Transportation Department is staffed from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on school days. Summer hours, as well as extended breaks (winter vacation, spring break, etc.) are flexible; however staff is available to assist customers.
Is it safe for my children to ride a school bus?
The National Safety Council states that the bus accident rate is 0.01 per 100 million miles traveled versus 0.04 for trains, 0.06 for commercial aviation and 0.96 for other passenger vehicles. That equates to school buses being about nine times safer than other passenger vehicles.
Do school buses utilize seat belts?
Some of our school buses are equipped with safety belts. The majority of our buses provide occupant protection by “compartmentalization.” Compartmentalization is the name for the protective envelope created by strong, closely-spaced seats that have energy-absorbing high seat backs that protect occupants in the event of an accident. School buses also have other features that contribute to the high level of safety they provide each occupant. Features such as emergency exit, roof structure, fuel systems, and body joint strength make the bus stronger, larger, heavier, and safer than most other vehicles on the road today.
Can the bus driver pick up and drop off my child at our home?
Only certain students, whose needs are addressed through an Individual Educational Plan (IEP), are eligible for “curbside” service. This service is typically restricted to situations where a less restrictive environment is not possible or where medical issues require special circumstances. For all other students, the location of bus stops is determined utilizing safety standards. Stops are placed in locations where they will provide a safe and convenient location for the most students while allowing the district to be efficient and effective. If you have questions or concerns regarding the location of your child’s bus stop, contact the Director of Transportation.
My child has special needs. Who do I contact to initiate transportation?
To initiate transportation for your child, please contact our Special Services Department at 253.800.6991.
Who is the point of contact when buses are late?
If your child’s bus is late, you can contact our office at 253.800.5900. Please remember that there are many reasons for the bus being late: traffic, road closures, construction, weather, vehicle breakdowns, or a late prior route. It is our intent to begin contacting parents when we become aware that a bus is over ten (10) minutes late, however, please be reminded that we have approximately 175 buses on the road at a given time.
I was late to the bus stop and need to locate my child.
If you are late to your bus stop, please contact our office at 253.800.5900. Drivers make every attempt to drop the student with their parent, however sometimes it is necessary to take the child either back to the school or to a designated undeliverable site. Our department will assist in reuniting you with your child.
Who should I contact to report a change of address or telephone number?
Changes in either address or telephone number need to be initiated at your child’s school.
Who do I contact for information regarding my child’s pick up/drop off time and location?
Prior to the start of school, postcards will be sent to home addresses with all necessary routing information. If changes to pickup/drop-off times occur throughout the school year, the driver will notify the students.
Why does my child have to walk to school?
The State of Washington funds school districts for transport of regular education elementary school students living further than one (1) mile from their service area school and secondary school students further than two (2) miles from their service area school. Bethel School District transports many students, due to safety issues, from boundaries inside of the mandated funding formula. Therefore, we are not reimbursed for the students and must use levy dollars to fund the excess amounts.