Frequently Asked Questions

We want to provide all students with a safe and comfortable journey to and from school. Students 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 classroom and the same expectations apply. Any conduct that jeopardizes the safety of the driver or students will not be tolerated. 

During the first week of school, the bus driver will hand out a brochure with their name and route number, along with further information regarding transportation bus practices that apply on all of our school buses.

Is there a maximum length of time that my child will be on the bus?

A number of factors affect ride time, such as bus capacity, transfers and attending a school of choice. There is no maximum ride time.

Why is my child's ride time long?

Bus routes are designed by the results of student enrollment. It is not possible to have every student on last in the morning then off first in the afternoon, especially if the route is a mixed urban/rural route. It is deemed safer to drop students off as soon as  possible as the bus leaves the school. It is not practical or efficient to drive past a number of students' homes to drop off the students at the end of the route first. Although it may only take parents ten - twenty minutes to take their child/ren directly to school,  school buses are designed to serve several families and students  therefore have numerous stops and turnarounds which also adds time to the route. The average ride time for a rural route in Alberta is 1.5 hrs. The safety of all those aboard is of the utmost importance so direction of travel and sight lines are also considered in the development of routes.  The uncontrollable factors of road construction, detours and increased traffic flow may also affect the time ridden on a bus daily.


If registrations for service decrease then routes ultimately are dissolved and stops are amalgamated with existing routes so that public funding is used efficiently. 

Why does my child have an assigned seat?

In order to address efficiencies and keep ride times to a minimum, seats are assigned to each student. Students are also assigned to seats to address age-appropriate socialization and student management.

Is eating and drinking allowed on the bus?

As a general rule eating and drinking is not allowed on the school bus, however it is up to the driver's discretion. The driver takes into consideration the safe areas to stop in case of choking or allergic reactions.

Longer rural routes may allow for students to have a drink of water or small snacks. However, urban routes are shorter and eating and drinking is often discouraged. 

Chewing gum, suckers, or nuts are not allowed on the school bus.

Are cell phones or other electronic devices allowed on the school bus?

The misuse of cell phones or other electronic devices on the school bus will not be tolerated as per Administrative Procedure 114.

How will I know if my child’s bus has been delayed or cancelled?

In the event, your bus is delayed for more than five minutes or cancelled, it will be updated on the Bus Status App and your school's website.

Does someone from the school meet the bus when it arrives?

Students are released at the school when supervision is present to greet them. Some days due to traffic flow the school bus may arrive a few minutes early and students will remain on the bus until supervision is on the grounds.

Why can’t the bus stop be at my house since it drives right by?

Transportation must be diligent in keeping ride times to a minimum and therefore cannot stop at each student’s house. The routing team takes into consideration the age of the children, the proximity of the stops, the accessibility of roadways, and any other safety concerns. To create efficiencies, walk distances are utilized in planning bus routes and stops.

Can I access busing from two different homes?

Busing may be available from two different homes. It is the responsibility of the parents/guardians to determine if their child is capable of remembering the alternate scheduling as we are unable to track this type of information. Please contact the Transportation office at transportationinfo@rdcrs.ca or 403-309-8801 for more information.

What happens at the transfer sites?

School buses arrive at a scheduled time and park in a designated location. Students disembark only when all buses have arrived and proceed to their next assigned bus. At transfer sites, the school bus drivers wear reflective vests and communicate with the other school bus drivers to safely direct students to their next transfer bus. All bus route numbers are clearly displayed at the front, and side of the bus. Buses do not leave transfer sites until all students have been loaded onto the school buses. For your child’s safety, we do not allow children to be picked up from the transfer site unless previous arrangements have been made with operations as we cannot validate guardianship of your child.

My child has special needs, how do I arrange transportation for them?

Should your child have special needs, please contact the Inclusive Learning Department to assess your child's busing requirements at 403-343-1055.

Can my child bring a friend home with them on the bus, or go home with a friend on another bus?

As most buses are at capacity, please call Transportation to accommodate these requests at 403-309-8801.

How do I contact the bus driver?

Your bus driver will contact you prior to the commencement of busing. If you need to get in contact with your driver, please call our office at 403-309-8801 and we will arrange for them to contact you directly.

If my child is not going to be riding the bus should I inform anyone?

If your child is not at their designated urban stop at the scheduled departure time the bus will proceed, therefore it is not necessary to advise our office. Families that reside in rural areas may want to contact their Driver or call Transportation to notify them of the absence. 

If your child is no longer in need of bus service, please advise our office at 403-309-8801 or by email at transportationinfo@rdcrs.ca so we may update our records accordingly.

What if I have an emergency and need to make alternate transportation arrangements for my child?

Please contact the Transportation office at 403-309-8801 and we will make our best effort to accommodate your request.

What if I need to make address changes or special requests for my child?

When making address changes this requires two tasks. Please update the address at all schools of attendance for each child as well as re-register here for bus service at the new location.

If you have special requests or questions please email transportationinfo@rdcrs.ca at any time. Allow 3 -5 days for your request to be implemented.

Can my child bring their sports equipment (hockey, skateboard, sticks) or musical instrument on the bus?

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 routed buses. 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”.

I live outside of Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools (RDCRS) catchment area and I am attending an RDCRS school, is busing available?

You are considered a non-resident student and transportation may be accessed from an existing bus stop within the Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools boundaries.

If I have a busing concern, how should I address it?

Parents are encouraged to discuss any busing concerns with their driver. If this is not possible, please contact our office at 403-309-8801 or transportationinfo@rdcrs.ca and we will address your concerns.

When are the alternately flashing lights on a bus used?

When students are loading or unloading from the school bus, the alternately flashing lights and stop arm are activated to attempt to control traffic. It is illegal to pass a school bus when the RED lights are flashing. When activated, the overhead alternating RED lights mean only one thing: “stop this bus is loading or unloading children."

This rule applies in the county and rural areas, as well as the following towns including Innisfail, Olds, Blackfalds, Sylvan Lake, and Rocky Mountain House.

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Why does the bus driver not use the flashing lights and stop arm in the City of Red Deer?

In a large urban area, buses do not activate their alternately flashing lights when students are loading or unloading. This is because the perceived benefits of using the alternating flashing lights and stop arm in urban areas do not outweigh the risks for children. There are frequent opportunities for safe crossing at marked crosswalks and intersections. Students are educated to wait in their safety zone until the bus pulls away and only cross the street only at intersections when it is safe to do so.

How often do you practice bus evacuations?

For your child's safety, Division policy requires that drivers conduct a minimum of four bus evacuation drills per year. The Bus Status App will be updated to reflect this.

What qualifications are required by RDCRS for bus drivers?

  • Valid Class 2 driver’s license
  • S Endorsement 
  • MELT Class 2 S
  • Emergency First–Aid with CPR
  • Online safety training, such as Hour Zero and Public School Works
  • Clean driver’s abstract
  • On-road evaluations (OREs)