• Transportation Frequently Asked Questions

    Transportation Frequently Asked Questions

    Could the bus stop change?

    Possibly.  As we receive new data from the student information system we will change bus routes to accommodate changes of address, new enrollments and program assignments.  Therefore we expect that while bus stop locations will remain relatively constant, bus numbers and stop times will change whenever a route is adjusted.  Based on past experience, we expect a great deal of change during late August and early September.  This web site always has the most up-to-date information.

    How does the system place bus stops?

    The locations of bus stops have been optimized by the computer taking into account the traffic safety issues of the streets in the area and the location of the children.  In most cases bus stops are at corners.  The stops are designed to be within approximately 1/2 mile of the student's home.  There have been no changes in the maximum walking distances, which remain at 1.5 miles for elementary schools and 2 miles for secondary schools. 

    What if I don't find my stop?

    All of the bus stops are based on student addresses provided by each school. If you do not find a stop we may not have the right address.  Contact your school to be sure they have the correct address on file, including any daycare addresses. The Transportation Office does not input address changes.Your child’s school must input the information into the Transportation Module of SchoolMax.   If the address is right call us at (301) 952-6570 and we will investigate the problem.

    When will I be notified about the bus stop?

    Parents of students registered at schools by July 31, 2013 will receive a letter from Transportation a week before school starts. The letter states the bus stop location, the route number and the pickup/drop off times.

    The bus didn’t show up on time for my child. How long should he/she wait at the bus stop?

    Your child should arrive at the bus stop at least ten minutes before the arrival time of the bus. If there is a substitute driver, the times may not be consistent with the regular time period. Wait 15 minutes after the scheduled pick-up then contact the Bus Lot Foreman at the area bus lot. *Remember to note the 4 and 5 year-old children.

    What should be done if there is a transportation-related problem after office hours? 

    It there is a problem after regular office hours, call School Security at (301) 499-7000. School Security is on duty 24 hours – 7 days a week. School Security will contact the Transportation Supervisor to handle any type of school bus issue(s). 

    My child’s bus is overcrowded. Can some children be placed on another bus? 

     Refer the call to the Supervisor to investigate. If the bus has three elementary students or two middle or high students in each seat, it will seem crowded. However, it will not be over capacity. Our goal is to fully utilize all the space on all the buses in our fleet. 

    I see buses all the time with only a few children on them. What are they doing? 

    Prince George’s County Public School Buses make two to four runs to a school each day. We transport 100,000 students each day. When transporting special needs students, it is sometimes impossible to utilize the capacity of the bus. Examples of special programs are: 

    •  Contextual Learning Environment 
    •  Alternative Schooling 
    •  Homeless 
    •  Title I   
    •  Boundaries also impact the number of children eligible to ride as a result of school system enrollment. 

    We live very far from the school and there is not a bus stop for my child. How do I arrange transportation? 

    Prince George’s County Public Schools regulations provide transportation for elementary students living in excess of one and a half miles of school; for middle and high school students, the distance is two miles. Both the pickup and dropoff addresses must be within the boundary of the school.Student’s address will upload to Transportation each night based on the addresses provided by the parent to the school. If there is a discrepancy, the caller must call the school to make an address change. 

    I drove it in my car, and we live more than that distance from school. 

     Notify the school principal about your concern and then contact the Department of Transportation to talk with the Transportation Supervisor of the school. Supervisors measure all distances with a walking wheel over the school route between the property line of the home and the property line of the school. 

    The walking route is not safe. To whom should I speak about that? 

    If you believe an unsafe situation exists, address your concern to the Transportation Supervisor of that school. 

     I can’t see my child’s bus stop from my house. How can I get the bus stop moved closer? 

    Bus stops are placed in safe and efficient locations. The Transportation Supervisor will determine the appropriate action to accommodate the majority of students to minimize the time and length of the run. If you have concerns about your child’s safety, you are encouraged to accompany your child to the bus stop or arrange a neighborhood buddy to walk with your child. 

    We live within the walking boundary, but very close to a bus stop for my child’s school. May my child ride the bus from the stop? 

    We do not permit a child to ride a school bus if you are within the walking area. 

    Is approval of transportation for a walking student permanent? 

     The area Transportation Supervisor will address this. If approved for the current year, it must be resubmitted each year (includes: Disability Act Research, 504 Plans, etc.) 

    My child goes to a daycare provider in an area with bus service. May my child ride the bus? 

    If the daycare provider is in the boundary for that school, bus service will be provided. The parent must provide to the school the address for the daycare center. If the address is not placed in the Transportation Module of SchoolMax it could cause your child to not have transportation. 

    My child is a special education student. To whom should I speak concerning his/her transportation? 

    Transportation is responsible for transporting all special needs students whose addresses are within the boundary for their placement program. Parents with students requiring lift buses should contact the Special Education Office for assistance. 

     My child left an item (coat, glasses, instrument, retainer, books, etc) on the bus. How does he/she get it back? 

    Drivers and substitute drivers check their buses after each run. Contact your child’s assigned bus lot. Items left will be taken back to the school or  turned in to the office where the bus is assigned if not claimed. You may help by labeling all of your child’s belongings with the child’s name and school. 

    What are the different types of school buses? 

    Prince George’s County has several types of school buses. Commercial is a traditional with the long frontal hood. Special Education buses have a short nosed co axle, and the Orthopedic buses are equipped with a wheelchair lift. All buses are diesel fueled and equipped with radios and GPS. 

    Why are school bus seats spaced so closely together? 

     Seats were re-designed to specific spacing, with full padding front and back, and increased back height for maximum impact protection. The newer designed seats provide a padded cavity for passenger compartmentalization. Crash tests prove this to be the most effective protection on impact. 

    Why aren’t seat belts required on school buses? 

    Seat belts are not required on school buses because research by the Department of Transportation has determined that compartmentalization was a better solution. Compartmentalization is more manageable, works well for one, two or three students per seat, and is most affordable.

    Why are 39” seats on school buses rated for three children when they only will accommodate two?

    The rated capacity of a 39” width passenger seat was devised many years ago. In determining seating capacity on a bus, an allowable average width standard was established. Accordingly, 13” was suggested with three students per seat (three students if elementary; for middle and high school students, loads are adjusted). 

    Do state regulations for school buses supersede federal requirements? 

    State Laws do not supersede Federal requirements. If states add requirements for safety, they are additional to the Federal requirements.

    Why are buses sometimes late? 

    School bus drivers can have the same reasons for being late as any commuter, i.e. traffic delays, weather conditions, accidents or driver’s illness resulting in substitute drivers. It also includes: mechanical breakdowns, and red light malfunctions. Additionally, when a bus is late, it will continue off schedule whether it is on its first or fourth  run. 

    Why aren’t buses always available for field trips? 

    The first priority is to provide transportation to and from school. The fleet does not contain a separate set of buses designated for field trips? 

    Why can’t all high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools start at the same time? 

    In order to maximize the use of our school bus fleet and provide an efficient operation with as few buses as possible, schools start at staggered times. 

    How can the number of students transported increase more than the total number of students enrolled? 

    Nearly 64% of the total number of student enrollment is bused to and from school, and the most common reasons are students being reassigned to schools, moving residence, or to assigned schools other than the base neighborhood school. 

    Why are spare replacement buses needed? 

    Buses operate throughout the day with one-way trips, shuttles, community-based exercises, and field trips, as well as to the normal to and from school transportation requirements. In order to have the required number of operational buses each day a group of back-up or spare buses must be retained in case of mechanical failure or accidents. 

    What is the definition of a school bus? 

    A school bus is a vehicle that is sold or introduced for interstate commission for the purpose to include carrying students to and from school or related events. It does not include a bus designed and sold for operations as a common carrier in urban transportation. 

    How can my child get picked up or dropped off at a daycare provider’s location?

    The daycare address has to be within the attendance area of the school, and outside of the walking area for that school. The parent must provide the school with the daycare provider’s address. 

     How can I arrange to have my child ride a different bus home from school for one day? 

    The child’s parent or guardian must send a written request to the school principal. If approved the principal will provide authorization to the driver or the bus lot. 

    Why is there not an attendant on every bus? 

    Attendants are used for Special Needs students. It would be cost prohibitive to provide an attendant for every bus. 

    What if the bus is overcrowded?

    See Administrator at the school who will in turn contact the Department of Transportation