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FAQ

We welcome your questions any time. The best way to reach us is to call 207-767-7714 between 6:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Some of our most commonly asked questions are answered below.

What should I do if the bus doesn’t show up?

Pick up and drop off times will not vary to any great extent on a normal basis. Circumstances beyond our control could make the bus late occasionally. Vehicle "break downs", impassable roads, traffic, emergencies, or drivers becoming ill are just a few reasons that could make the bus late. We will always make sure a bus will be at your stop.

If the wait is longer than fifteen minutes please contact the transportation office at 207-767-7714.

My child is not eligible for transportation. Can my child still ride the school bus?

Under certain circumstances, students who are not eligible may ride the school bus on a "space available" basis. Approval for "space available" seating is granted by transportation services. Approval is based on several things such as: medical necessity, safety, special hardship, etc. Space available seating is generally not approved until the second full week of school in September and is approved on a "first come, first serve basis". Please contact your school principal or the transportation office for information concerning this type of transportation.

The bus goes right by my house. Why can’t it stop here?

School bus stops are placed in central locations to shorten route length and times. Transportation services make every effort to see that these stops are safe and have appropriate walking routes to them. By law, school buses must also have at least one hundred feet between stops. Please contact the transportation office if you feel your child’s stop is unsafe or should otherwise be changed.

My child goes to school in one school zone but my daycare is in another. Can my child ride to and from daycare to school?

Transportation across district lines is not permitted under normal circumstances. Route timing, distances, and bus capacities make it difficult to accommodate this type of request. However, under certain circumstances accommodations may be made. Please contact your school principal or transportation office for information concerning this type of transportation.

My child is not eligible for transportation but attends a daycare in an area that is eligible for transportation. Is my child eligible to ride to and from school from the daycare?

The student would be allowed to ride to and from daycare on a "space available" basis. Approval may be rescinded in the event the bus becomes overcrowded.

I think my child is eligible for transportation but I’m told the distance is not far enough? How do I resolve this?

All home locations within the city have had distance measurements calculated at some time. Computer calculations using a digitized map, aerial measurements, or actual measurement with an on board distance meter used by the South Portland Police Department have been performed on address points within the district. Vehicle odometers are not an accurate way to judge precise distances. Please contact the transportation office should you feel a distance is inaccurate. We will be happy to re-measure using an on board measuring device that is very accurate.

My child occasionally needs to ride home to a different location. Is this possible?

Eligible students may be dropped off at a different location only with the written permission of a parent or guardian. Parents should present a note to the school administrator when this becomes necessary. A bus pass will be generated from your child’s school and given to the driver authorizing your request.

Why do some buses always look empty?

Transportation Services makes every effort to fully maximize bus capacities. On occasion, buses may not be fully utilized due to the nature of the transportation. Special Education and ELL schedules are not fully utilized due to distances, timing and program needs.

What happens if my child loses something on the bus?

Drivers inspect the interior of the bus after each route. Drivers are instructed to keep all found articles of unknown origin on board the bus at least one day. Articles may be claimed directly from the driver or you may contact the transportation office at the 207-767-7714. Unclaimed articles are kept at the transportation office "lost and found."

Are seat belts required on school buses?

Seat belts on school buses are not required equipment. School buses utilize the "compartmentalization" concept to insure student safety. Since the mid-70’s the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has determined that this approach to student safety is the most practical for school buses. Compartmentalization is an arrangement whereby seats are placed close together to absorb the energy of a child’s body thrown against it. Additional padding, higher seat backs, frame construction, and anchoring requirements make compartmentalization the accepted choice of and the industry standard.

Efforts are currently underway to revisit the seat belt issue on a national scale. Testing is currently being done to determine what the next generation of "active child safety restraints" for school buses might be. The South Portland School Department will follow guidelines established by the Maine Department of Education and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Transportation Services does utilize lap belts and other restraint systems in certain circumstances. Special Education buses currently provide lap belts for students. Additionally, a few of our conventional buses have a limited number of lap belts and child safety restraint systems available for "active" students. Pre-school students utilize a child safety restraint system especially designed for younger children weighing less than 40 pounds.

I have a complaint about a bus driver. Who do I talk to about this?

Please call the Director of Transportation at 207-767-7714 between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday.

My child is a Special Education student. Who do I contact to arrange transportation?

An IEP team must determine that your child requires Special Transportation. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact your child's IEP case manager.

My child attends one school for most of the day but occasionally receives services at another school. Is transportation provided for this?

Yes, transportation is provided anytime a student needs access to an alternative program within the district.

My child attends PATHS. Is transportation provided to and from PATHS?

Yes, transportation is provided from South Portland High School for the morning and afternoon ride. Buses leave the high school at 10:40 a.m. daily and return at approximately 1:50 p.m.

Do you need a special license to drive a school bus?

Yes, all drivers are required to maintain in good standing a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with an “S” (school bus) and “P” (passenger) endorsement. If you are interested in attaining a bus driving permit, please consider our ongoing courses.

Do students practice emergency evacuations from the school bus?

Yes, by law it is required on a semi-annual basis that all students be instructed in the proper way to evacuate a school bus in an emergency situation. Drills are performed on each route in the early fall and late spring of each school year. Drivers are trained in the proper use of emergency exits and procedures.

Does someone need to be at the bus stop to accept a Kindergarten child?

Yes, to ensure the safety and accountability of Kindergarten children a parent/s or authorized adult needs to be physically present at the bus stop to accept the child.

Does someone need to be at the bus stop to accept a child with special needs?

Yes, to ensure the safety and accountability of children with special needs a parent/s or authorized adult needs to be physically present at the bus stop to accept the child.

If someone is not at the bus stop to accept a Kindergarten or child with specific needs what will happen next?

If no one will be at the bus stop to meet the bus, please call Transportation at 207-767-7714 before 1:00 p.m. to let us know who will be taking your child off the bus. At the present time, you as the parent/s are the only people to whom we are authorized to release the child. If someone else will be meeting the bus on a regular basis, we will need written authorization from you. If you or an authorized adult are not at the discharge location to accept your child we will try to contact you with the telephone numbers provided to us. If we cannot contact you we will continue with the route and the School will be contacted and you will be asked to meet the bus at the school. At that time, your child will be turned over to supervision of the school administration or personnel.

I want my child to attend a school in the district other than the one that services my address. Will my child be provided transportation to the other school?

No, you will have to have a waiver for your child to attend another school other than the one that services the area where you live. The wavier states the transportation for the child is the responsibility of the parent/s.

If I am in the hospital will transportation services be able to deliver my child to a friend’s house?

Transportation depends on certain criteria such as, busing eligibility of child, capacity and location. We will make every effort to accommodate special situations such as this. Please give Transportation Services as much notice as you can to allow every opportunity to assist with a solution.