The Bethel transportation department is here to serve you. Our goal is to provide the best service possible to the more than 10,000 students who take the bus every day to school and back home. Our department is dedicated to transporting students in a safe, welcoming atmosphere.
Our devoted drivers and first-rate support staff give their all each day to make sure our students are served well. We appreciate any feedback you can give us to help us accomplish our mission.
If you have questions or concerns, please call us at 253.800.5900.
We look forward to working with you!
Hours of Operation
School Days 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Non-School Days 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
The following rules and regulations apply to all students using school district transportation to and from school and school-sponsored activities and events.
- The driver is in charge of the bus and passengers and their directives must be obeyed.
- Students shall observe the standards of classroom conduct while on a school bus.
- Students are prohibited from utilizing cell phones on the school bus. Cell phones must be contained out of visibility in a purse, backpack, etc.
- The student shall ride a regularly-assigned bus and depart at their assigned stop unless specifically authorized by the building representative, director of transportation or designee.
- Eating and drinking on the bus is not permitted.
- Items that interfere with the safety of students and driver are not permitted (i.e. animals, insects, breakable containers, chemicals, explosives, balloons, skateboards, etc.).
- Students shall not have or use tobacco products, drugs, alcohol, paraphernalia, matches, lighters or any other flammable or sparking device on the school bus.
- Students may take only those musical instruments that can be secured on the student’s lap or between their legs and that won’t disrupt the loading and unloading of students, i.e., flute, clarinet, trumpet, violin, trombone, and alto saxophone. Instruments such as drums, tenor saxophone, cello, bass viola, baritone horn, and French horn are not allowed.
- Students shall remain seated while the bus is in motion and are not to get up until the bus has come to a full stop.
- Students shall board the bus in an orderly manner and remain within the bus driver’s view at all times.
- Students shall cross the highway in front of the bus only after verifying it is safe to do so and after obtaining the consent of the driver.
- Students shall arrive at the bus stop five (5) minutes prior to bus stop time.
- At the bus stop, students shall remain out of roadways and avoid pushing, shoving and damaging private property surrounding the bus stop.
- Students who walk along a highway to and from a bus-loading zone must walk where practicable on the left-hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic. This also applies to students leaving the bus-loading zone in the evening.
- In the event of an emergency, students shall follow emergency procedures as established by emergency exit drills.
For an extended version of bus rules, please contact the Transportation Department.
Click here to download or print this document.
Yes, you can now access your student's bus route information in ParentVUE. Just log in to ParentVUE, click on "Student Info," and scroll to the bottom.
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.
For the safety of district kindergarten students, it is our practice to have a parent and/or guardian meet the kindergarten student when the bus driver picks them up and drops them off at their stop. If a parent and/or guardian is not present, the child will be returned to their school or taken to the designated undeliverable site. If this occurs, please call our office 253.800.5900 and we will assist in reuniting you with your child.
The safety of your child is the ultimate goal of Bethel School District’s Transportation team. We will work collaboratively with you to ensure this new adventure is a positive experience for your child.
Kindergarten buses will most likely run late for the first two weeks of school. Please remain patient and contact us if you have concerns. Take time to teach your child the bus rules and regulations. Let them know that they need to listen to the bus driver and follow their directions to assist in keeping them safe. Enclosed in your kindergarten packet you will find the rules and regulations for bus riders.
If you need to contact the Transportation Department, please call 253.800.5900. We experience a high volume of telephone calls throughout the year, but extremely high volume during the first month of school. Please remain patient and leave a message if necessary. We will get back to you as quickly as possible.
Kindergarten Transportation Authorization for Drop
Because student safety is our number one priority, we have established guidelines for the transporting of musical instruments. WAC 392-145-021-(3) addresses loose items not permitted on buses. To provide a clear understanding we offer the following pictorial to show authorized and unauthorized musical instruments. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Transportation Office at 253.800.5900.
All musical instruments transported in the passenger area on a school bus must be positioned in such a way that they do not block or obstruct in any way the aisle, stairwell, or emergency window exit.
Authorized Musical Instruments:
- French Horns
- Tenor Saxes
- Bass Clarinets
- Snare Drums
- Alto Saxes
- Half Cellos
Unauthorized Musical Instruments:
- Large Drums
- String Basses
- Baritone Horns
- Baritone Saxes
- 3/4 Cellos and Full Cellos
- Bass Guitars
Any instrument placed on the floor must be against the outside (window) wall, as no student should have to climb over an instrument to exit in an emergency. Leg spacing on buses range from 7” to 12” so instruments must either fit on students lap or within the leg space of each seat. Instruments may not exceed height of the bottom of the window ledge, which ranges from 29” to 31”. Remember that emergency exits cannot be blocked.
Careful attention to these procedures will assure safe transportation for students and their musical instruments. Students are cautioned that failure to abide by these procedures may cause the forfeiture of the privilege to transport their music instruments on a school bus
Bethel School District has the responsibility to ensure student safety when walking to school and riding buses as per Policy 6605. In Washington State, school districts are responsible for developing a walking route for each elementary school in their district where children walk to and from school. A walking route to school is based on considerations of traffic patterns and existing traffic controls such as crosswalks, traffic lights, or school safety patrol posts. The chosen route should seek to limit the number of school zone crossings in a way that encourages students to cross streets in groups. In addition, it should seek those routes that provide the greatest physical separation between walking children and traffic, expose children to the lowest speeds and volumes of moving vehicles, and have the fewest number of road or rail crossings.
Four schools have been deemed as 'No Walk Zones':
- Graham Kapowsin High School
- Frontier Middle School
- Nelson Elementary
- Kapowsin Elementary
Schools with limited walk zones are:
- Centennial Elementary
- North Star Elementary
- Rocky Ridge Elementary
If you have questions, please contact the Transportation department at 253.800.5900
Walking to the Bus Stop
- Allow extra time in the morning to get to your stop on time.
- Wear bright clothing so the bus driver and other motorists can see you in the early morning and late evening.
- Dress properly for the weather. Winter clothing, hats, mittens and boots will help you keep warm.
- Watch traffic while walking to your stop. Vehicles may lose control in the snow and ice and you need to be aware of your surroundings.
- Stand back from where the bus stops. Buses need extra room to stop when there is snow and ice.
Waiting at the Bus Stop
- Be cautious at the bus stop. Snow and ice accumulates under the powder and it is easy to slip and fall.
- Don’t throw snowballs at the bus, other vehicles or people.
- Don’t slide on the snow or ice patches in driveways or on the street. You could accidently slide under the wheel of the bus, another car or get hurt.
- Don’t push and shove around the bus. Someone could fall down on the ice or fall beneath the bus.
Entering and Exiting the Bus
- Use the handrail when boarding or exiting the bus to prevent slipping on the wet steps.
- Keep the windows rolled up to prevent frostbite.
- Listen to the driver at all times as they must pay extra attention to the road conditions and other vehicles.
Bus Safety Tips
- Have your child put everything they carry in a backpack or school bag.
- Have your child brightly dressed and easy to see.
- Arrive at the bus stop five (5) minutes before the scheduled pickup.
Walking to the Bus Stop
- Walk young children to the bus stop and have older children walk in groups.
- Walk on the sidewalk or safe walking path. When there is no sidewalk and you have to walk on the road, be sure to walk facing traffic.
- When crossing a street, look left, right, and left again. Walk across a street. Do not run.
- Cross streets at corners and use crosswalks whenever possible.
- Be careful around parked cars. Driver’s coming down the street cannot see you.
- Listen for the sound of car motors, sirens and horns before stepping into the street.
Waiting at the Bus Stop
- Have your child wait calmly at the bus stop. Playing, pushing, shoving and running are dangerous near roadways and traffic.
- Have your child stand at least ten (10) feet from the road while waiting for the bus.
Getting On and Off the Bus
- Have your child always cross in front of the bus, never behind.
- Teach children to wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, the red stop lights are activated, and the driver signals it is safe to cross.
- Remind children to remain alert to other drivers when entering and exiting the bus.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians and Bicyclists
The best way to avoid collisions is to be prepared and be aware of vehicles around you. While the law assigns pedestrians the right of way, it does not relieve pedestrians of using due care for their own safety.
Walk on sidewalks
If sidewalks are not available, walk on the edge of the road or on the left shoulder of the road, facing the traffic flow. Use pedestrian bridges when they are available.
Take care when crossing
Pedestrians are most often hit by drivers while crossing the road. Use marked crosswalks and signalized intersections when available. Every intersection is a legal crosswalk under Washington law unless it is marked as closed or where it’s located between two signalized intersections you could cross at. In addition to intersections, driveways are another place where you can expect to encounter drivers or bicyclists exiting or entering. Take an extra moment to confirm that you can cross safely.
Look left, right, and left for traffic
Stop at the curb and look left, right, and left again for traffic. Stopping at the curb signals drivers that you intend to cross. Always obey traffic signals.
Walk where you can be most visible
Drivers need to see you to avoid you. Carrying a flashlight when walking in the dark will help you see and avoid irregularities in the sidewalk or shoulder as well as help drivers spot you.
Watch your children (or younger siblings)
Small children should not cross streets by themselves or be allowed to play or walk near traffic. They cannot accurately judge vehicle distances and speeds and may make movements a driver can't predict.
Obey traffic signals
At intersections where traffic is controlled by signals or a traffic officer, pedestrians must obey the signal and not cross against the stop signal unless specifically directed to go by a traffic officer.
Bicycle Safety Tips
Obey traffic signs and signals - Bicyclists must follow the rules of the road like other vehicles.
Never ride against traffic - Motorists aren't looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. State law and common sense require that bicyclists drive like other vehicles.
Follow lane markings - Don't turn left from the right lane. Don't go straight in a lane marked “right-turn only.”
Don’t pass on the right - Motorists may not look for or see a bicyclist passing on the right.
Scan the road behind you - Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.
Keep both hands ready to brake - You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since brakes are less efficient when wet.
Wear a helmet and never ride with headphones - Always wear a helmet. Never wear a headphone while riding a bike.
Dress for the weather - In rain wear a poncho or waterproof suit. Dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Wear bright colored clothing.
Use hand signals - Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy, and of self-protection.
Ride in the middle of the lane in slower traffic - Get in the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same speed as traffic.
Choose the best way to turn left - There are two choices: (1) Like an auto: signal to move into the left turn lane and then turn left. (2) Like a pedestrian: ride straight to the far side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.
Make eye contact with drivers - Assume that other drivers don't see you until you are sure that they do. Eye contact is important with any driver which might pose a threat to your safety.
Use a mirror so you know when drivers are behind you.
Look out for road hazards - Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, ice, sand or debris and pedestrians on the shoulder. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
Use lights at night - The law requires a white headlight (visible from at least 500 feet ahead) and a rear reflector or taillight (visible up to 300 feet from behind).
Keep your bike in good repair - Adjust your bike to fit you and keep it working properly. Check brakes and tires regularly. Routine maintenance is simple and you can learn to do it yourself.