Transportation Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
First, you must enroll your child at the school. If you move but still live within the boundary for the same school, you must give your new address to the school along with proof of residency. Provide the school any other information that has changed for your child, too.
The student’s school is the primary record keeper for ALL student information, including the address that a student leaves from in the morning to ride the bus. The school electronically
conveys your child’s address to the Transportation Department, which in turn assigns a bus stop location, bus number and approximate pick-up time. Therefore, any information that has changed for the student must be changed at the school.
To qualify for bus transportation, the childcare provider’s address must be within the attendance area of the school and outside of the walking area for that school. Parents must provide the school with the provider’s name, address, and phone number. Transportation to/from daycare, if approved, is only provided for students in Pre-K through 8th Grade.
Bus stops are established by using several factors, which include walking conditions, walking distance to the stop and road accessibility. On rural county roads, we expect a student to be able to access a stop at a neighbor’s driveway.
In areas where walk conditions are acceptable, students are required to be picked up at centralized stops. Two students can be loaded at one stop faster and at less cost than the bus stopping at two separate stops. We encourage parent supervision at the bus stop. Board of Education Policy 441 stipulates that we will try to route buses so that students will have a maximum of ½ of a mile to walk to a bus stop, exclusive of private driveways and roadways. Please refer to Board of Education Policy 441 for additional information.
Contact the Transportation Department and ask that your call be referred to the manager for your child’s bus. A bus that has three elementary students to a seat or two middle or high school
students to a seat may seem crowded. However, it will not be over capacity. Our goal is to fully utilize all of the space on all buses in our fleet. Please refer to Board of Education Policy 441 for additional information.
Some schools have an area where transportation is not provided, and that is called the "non-transported area." Please refer to Board of Education Policy 441 for additional information.
No. We do not permit a child who resides in a non-transported area to ride a school bus.
Some streets have both transported and non-transported areas. You may contact your child’s school for clarification or the Transportation Department at 301-644-5366.
All areas have been re-evaluated to make sure that they are consistent with Board policy. Some areas have been included because of improvements, developments, or simply because they
should have been included previously. All non-transported areas have been evaluated and fall within policy guidelines and have appropriate walk paths.
You can contact the Transportation Department, and the placement of the stop will be reviewed. A designated bus stop will not always seem ideal to everyone assigned to it. There are numerous issues to be considered in relocating a stop, and we may not be successful in meeting everyone’s expectations. Some students will have to walk to the bus stop. In some cases, the stop may not be in direct line of sight from your residence. We encourage parental supervision at the bus stop.
Frederick County Public Schools is not responsible for student behavior at the bus stop. Our responsibility begins when students board the bus and ends when they exit the bus. If there is a
problem at the bus stop that cannot be resolved among the students and families, contact your local law enforcement agency.
If your student on occasion will be riding home on a bus other than the one to which he/she is assigned (i.e., riding home with a friend in an emergency or to an alternate stop), before boarding the bus the student MUST give the bus driver a signed note from the parents/guardians of all students concerned AND written administrator approval from the school.
No. Going to the bus stop places everyone in a defensive position and can lead to a confrontation, which is inappropriate for the students to witness. Drivers are trained to avoid confrontations to the point of closing the door and driving away. Federal law prohibits blocking the doorway or interfering with the operation of the bus. If you have a concern with something that happens on the bus, please call or talk with the administrator of your child’s school. After gathering the necessary information, he or she will pursue the matter with the appropriate Transportation Department manager, who will in turn work with you to resolve it.
Drivers and substitute drivers check their buses after each run, and they keep left-behind items on the bus so the students may retrieve their items directly from the driver the next time they ride. Any items left unclaimed for an extended period of time are turned in to either the Transportation Office or the school to which the bus is assigned. You may help by labeling all of your child’s belongings with the child’s name and school. FCPS is not responsible for any items left on the bus.
We make a concerted effort to be consistent on the time we start the route. After the first stop, many things can affect the arrival time at subsequent stops, so even the most conscientious driver will vary by a few minutes. If there is a substitute driver, the times may not be consistent with the regular time period. To allow for those variances, students are told to be at the bus stop five minutes prior to normal arrival and to be waiting where they are visible to the driver as the bus approaches the stop. Drivers are required by law to activate their yellow lights a minimum of 100 feet prior to stopping and turning on their red lights. If drivers do not see any students present, they are not required to stop. They are also not required to wait for tardy students. Usually, drivers will not leave students if they are close to the stop and making an effort to get there as quickly as they can. The loading and unloading process is the most dangerous part of the bus ride, and students are safest when they are at the stop before the bus arrives, not running for it after it shows up.
Please check the Bus Delay System on our website at: https://apps.fcps.org/transdelay/ If a bus is reported to be running late by 10 minutes or more, it will be posted here.
At the start of each school year, schools distribute to all students the Frederick County Public Schools Calendar Handbook, which outlines bus rules and consequences. Bus riders also receive a “Parent Letter” to be signed by both the student and parent and returned to the driver. The “Parent Letter” outlines the expectations and rules on the bus. Student violation of these bus safety rules can result in verbal warnings, seat assignments, or loss of a riding privilege. A severe incident may call for a bus driver to refer the matter to the principal without taking any previous steps, and the student’s riding privileges can be revoked at the end of the bus run. A Referral form must be completed by the driver and turned in to the school administration for further action. We ask all parents to support safe bus behavior by providing consequences to support safety when the student’s riding privilege has been suspended. For more detailed information regarding Bus Discipline Procedures, please refer to FCPS Reg. No. 400-57.
The school administration is responsible for overseeing student bus behavior issues and handling consequences, including additional days of bus suspension. School administration is responsible for investigating the incident, which may include talking with other students on the bus. The Transportation Department is involved when the driver does not follow procedures.
School bus transportation is the safest form of travel in the United States with over 24 million students transported daily nationwide on 450,000 buses traveling over 4.3 billion miles per year.
Over a 10-year period, only one third of 1 percent of all fatal crashes involved a student on a school bus. School bus safety is based on closely spaced and padded seats on a large framed vehicle, as mandated by Federal Law. Usually, when a fatality occurs on a school bus, it is when another large vehicle (dump truck, tractor trailer, or train) collides with a school bus, and the victim is sitting at the point of impact. National statistics indicate that your child is 63 times safer inside the school bus than in your car.
Briefly, applicants are fingerprinted, criminal background checks are initiated, driving records are reviewed, references are checked, drug/alcohol tests are conducted (including pre-employment and random testing), DOT Physicals are obtained, and new drivers are required to go through 30 plus hours of training.
Recommendations to delay or close schools are based on actual observation of road conditions by Transportation Department staff; communication with neighboring school transportation officials, State Highway Administration, County Roads, Maryland State Police, and the Frederick County Sheriff's Department; and weather forecasts. When winter weather is predicted, transportation employees start their day at 3:30 AM to test road conditions and discuss the situation over two-way radios. While they cannot drive every road in the county, they try to travel roads that they feel are a good indicator of county road conditions. They also discuss road conditions with neighboring county school transportation officials, and track weather reports via AccuWeather’s 24-hour service and also the National Weather Service. Although AccuWeather does a better job than many other forecasters, forecasting is still an imperfect science. For more detailed information regarding Closing of Schools Because of Weather, Maintenance, or Other Reasons, please refer to FCPS Reg. No. 400-02.
For morning delays or school closures, we make our recommendation to the FCPS Superintendent by 5 AM and communicate the information to local and regional media outlets by 5:30 AM. For early dismissals, decisions are made whenever possible by 10 AM. Although every effort is made to notify the media promptly, we have no control over the speed and accuracy with which non-FCPS media outlets announce the news.
For the most accurate information, check FCPS TELEVISION on Cable Channel 18, the website at www.fcps.org, where you may also sign up for FindOutFirst email notices, or the free Mobile App.
Please contact the school as soon as possible regarding any custody issues. The school will, in turn, contact the Transportation Department to relay the information to the bus driver.
Email us at Transportation@fcps.org or contact us at 301-644-5366.