Best Practices on the School Bus

Toddler smiling from a playground bus

We want to provide all students with a safe and comfortable journey to and from school. Students must understand that they are responsible for their conduct toward the driver and other students at all times while on the bus.

The school bus is an extension of the school facilities and the same expectations apply. Any conduct that jeopardizes the safety of the driver or students is not be tolerated. 

During the first week of school, the bus driver will hand out a brochure with their Name and Route # along with further information regarding Transportation Best Practices that apply on all of our school buses.

Some basic "Rider Rules" include:

  • When waiting for the bus stay away from traffic and avoid fooling around
  • Don't stray on the street alleys or private property
  • Line up away from the street or road as the bus approaches
  • Use the handrail on and off the bus
  • Use the safe zones
  • Always remain seated when riding in the school bus
  • Use classroom voices when talking to your seatmates

During COVID-19, we have adopted the "Empty Hands" approach to our school buses. Cell phones, binders, toys, books, etc must be in your backpack to reduce the risk of sharing items, and possible transmission of the virus. This includes No eating or drinking. We appreciate your support during these temporary measures.

Know Your Zone, Safely Home

School bus safe boarding poster Expand Image

We want to ensure our students remain safe at all times while being picked up and dropped off from the school bus. Please read below our information about safety zones:

A safety zone is an area (at least 1 metre from the curb of a road) where students must stand when waiting for the school bus to arrive and depart.

In the morning (five minutes prior to pick-up time), students of all ages are required to line-up in the safety zone until the bus door opens.

This also applies in the afternoon when the school bus operator drops students off. All students need to wait in their seat until the bus door opens before heading to the safety zone. Students need to remain in the safety zone when the bus departs.

Students are NOT allowed to cross in front or behind the bus during pick-up or drop-off, as the City of Red Deer does not use alternating flashing red lights to control traffic.

Address Changes / Special Requests

Be sure to contact our office if you are making a permanent or temporary busing change to your child's transportation needs. Permanent address changes need to be made at the school which will automatically be updated in our system. These changes cannot be made with the driver. Please allow five business days for your request to be implemented. One time only requests (bringing friends home or dropping off at a different location) require a note from the parents and may be arranged with the driver.

Eating, Drinking or Chewing Gum
Chewing gum, as well as the consumption of food and drink, is at the driver's discretion. Due to allergy concerns, we request that no peanut butter or nut products be consumed on the bus.

Items not Permitted on School Bus
Toboggans, skateboards, snowboards, skis, hockey sticks, glass containers, animals, skates without blade protection, non-folding scooters or anything that the driver feels may endanger students while riding the bus or inhibit students from entering or exiting the bus will be prohibited.

Extreme Weather Conditions
In the case of extreme weather conditions (ie. cold weather, fog, or freezing rain), Board Policy determines whether or not the buses will operate that day. If bus service is cancelled for the day, this information will be broadcasted on the school bus app on your iPhone or Android device.

Note: If bus service is cancelled in the morning, the buses may not operate in the afternoon even if weather conditions improve.

If the buses are running during extreme weather conditions, parents are not obligated to send their child on the bus if they would rather make alternate arrangements to transport their child to school. All students must be suitably dressed for the weather conditions or the bus driver may not allow them to ride the bus. Your child should know what to do if the bus is running late in the morning and have a place to go in the event that the bus does not arrive. They should also know what to do if a parent is not able to meet the bus after school or if there is no one home when they arrive. It is not the driver's responsibility to ensure that there is someone to meet your child at the stop after school.

Mechanical Problems
In the case of a breakdown, a spare bus will be sent out immediately to meet your child's bus and the driver will then continue on their route as necessary. This will usually only result in 15 or 20-minute delay in the route. Bus statuses will be updated on the School and Division website and will be pushed out to the school bus app provided you have set this feature up.

School Bus Parking Zones
Please be aware of the school bus zone at your child's school. Parking in this zone is illegal during specified hours and presents a serious safety hazard for the loading or unloading of students. Any vehicles parked in the school bus zone at your child's school during the specified hours may be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense.

Flashing Red Lights
When flashing red lights are activated on school buses, vehicles from both directions must stop. Violators will be prosecuted. 

Flashing red lights are not used in The City of Red Deer or in The Town of Olds.

Bus Evacuation
For your child's safety, Division policy requires that drivers conduct a minimum of four bus evacuation drills per year.

Cell Phones
Cell phones are not to be used on the bus (no calls, text messaging, internet or games) as per Administrative Procedure 114. 

Musical Instruments

According to the School Bus Operation Regulation (16) of the Motor Transport Act, large items cannot be carried on school buses unless they can be secured and do not block the aisles.The School Bus Operation Regulation of the Motor Transport Act (437/86) states the following:

Luggage equipment and tools
16(1) When luggage, equipment or tools are carried on a school bus they shall not be carried in the interior of the school bus.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where it is not practical to carry luggage, equipment or tools other than in the interior of the bus they may be carried in the interior of the school bus if they:
a. Are stored under the seats where possible.
b. Do not block the aisles or emergency exits, and
c. Are stored, lodged or secured in such a manner so that they cannot be dislodged or move about when the brakes of the school bus are applied, during the acceleration of the school bus or in the event of an accident involving the school bus.

(3) The person operating the school bus shall ensure that any luggage, equipment or tools carried on the school bus are transported in accordance with this section.AR 437/86 s16

This means that RDCRS Transportation is required to adhere to the regulations and policies regarding the safety and well-being of their students while riding on school buses. Tubas, french horns, guitars, saxophones, trombones, hockey sticks, hockey bags, skateboards, curling brooms, etc., are not be allowed on the busses. Articles must be held on a student’s lap, not go into the aisle, above the seat or into another student’s space. As seats are 34” wide and there are often three students to a seat, the article should not be more than 13” x 13” x 23”.