Parents: Transportation

This information is from the 2004-2005 Boston Public Schools Policy Handbook.

Students are eligible for transportation to and from school if they live more than:

  • 1 mile from their kindergarten or elementary school
  • 1 1/2 miles from their middle school
  • 2 miles from their high school.

When we notify you about your child's school assignment, we will also tell you if your child is eligible for transportation. If your child is eligible, we will send a notice with the bus stop location, time of pick-up and drop-off, and bus number. Please note that due to decreased funding, we are revising many transportation routes this year. The changes may mean that some students will walk a longer distance to their stop and spend more time on the bus.

Kindergarten and elementary school students who ride yellow buses are picked up and dropped off at a corner stop near home. Bus service for eligible middle and high school students may be by yellow bus, MBTA service, or a combination of both. Free MBTA passes are given each month to eligible students.

Please note that bus drivers will drop off students, including kindergartners, at the bus stop even when the parent is not there.

What if you move during the school year?
Go to any Family Resource Center and fill out a "change of address" form. We will assign your child to a new bus stop if he or she is eligible for transportation.

What if your child transfers to another school?
We will automatically assign a new bus stop if your child is eligible for transportation.

What if the bus is late?
Students are not marked "tardy" if their school bus arrives at school late.

Private Transportation Services
Some families arrange to have their children brought to and from school by a private transportation service or individual. For safety reasons, the school will not release a student to anyone other than the parent or guardian without the parent's written permission. If you are making private transportation arrangements for your child, be sure to sign a release form, which you can get from the school office. This form releases the Boston Public Schools from any liability if there is a problem with the service.

Special Transportation Situations
Transportation service for students with disabilities is stated in their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Plan. Some students receive door-to-door bus service. Other students with disabilities are picked up and dropped off at a corner near home, receive an MBTA pass, or walk to school.

Some students may have medical or physical conditions that prevent them from walking to school or to the corner bus stop. In these rare cases, the BPS may provide door-to-door medical transportation. In order to be considered for this special service, your child's doctor must complete an Individualized Collaborative Health Plan. You can obtain this form from the school nurse. Upon review, the school nurse will determine if your child's medical condition meets eligibility guidelines established by the BPS Medical Director. If your child does not meet the guidelines, the nurse will contact you.

Alternative Transportation
Parents may request a bus stop near their child's before or after school program or day care location, with certain restrictions: The requested stop must be on one of the school's regular bus routes, and there must be a seat available on the bus. Parents should be aware that the BPS may not be able to assign a student to a requested alternative stop; and requests can take several weeks to process. Parents should be aware that the BPS does not guarantee that the request for an alternative stop will be granted, and requests can take several weeks to process.

The earlier you submit your request, the better your chance for approval. During the school year, please submit your request to the principal. During the summer, please submit your request to the Transportation Unit, 26 Court Street, 4th floor. Call the principal for details and an application.

Behavior on the Bus
We consider the school bus to be "an extension of the classroom." That means we have the same standards of behavior on the school bus (or on the MBTA going to and from school) as we do in school. For example, students should remain in their seats; and they should not hang out of windows, push or fight with other students, throw things, or try to distract the driver.

Students who violate School-Based Rules or the Code of Discipline while on the bus may be disciplined and may be denied transportation.

Contacting the Transportation Office
If you have any questions concerning school transportation services, please call the Transportation Unit at 617-635-9520.

For more information, please visit the BPS web site.