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FAQ - Yellow Bus Service

How are bus routes created?

In late July or the beginning of August, the Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) takes data from ATS and creates bus routes. These bus routes are created for new schools only. It is critical for a new school to make sure its students are entered before ATS shuts down in mid-July since the more students that are enrolled, the more bus routes a school may be given.

After the initial bus routes are run, charter schools can request additional routes from OPT by contacting their OPT account manager. A route needs at least 11 students and cannot be longer than 5 miles.

How are stops added, deleted or changed on bus routes?

Use the OPT 199 system. If a change is denied, in a small number of cases an OPT account manager can have the request revisited. Best practice: delete unneeded stops from routes; because of the 5 mile rule, removing unused stops can help OPT add stops later.

How are students added to or deleted from bus stops?

Use ATS to add or delete a student from a bus stop. Click here for the web page with OPT school resources, including an ATS guide for transportation.

Do buses go door to door?

No. All stops are at street corners.

Can a student get off at any stop?

No. Students are required to get off the bus in the afternoon at the same stop where they were picked up in the morning (e.g. getting off at a friend’s stop is not permitted).

Are schools required to have bus attendants?

No, but schools may provide supervision from parent volunteers or employees. Volunteers must be fingerprinted, complete a training class, commit to riding the bus for the whole year and receive permission from OPT. If the person is an employee, he/she does not need additional training. Schools should send the name and Social Security number to OPT fingerprint clearance verification and notify bus drivers. If a school opts to have a school employee supervise students on buses, the school is responsible for any cost (salary) associated with that supervision.

Must students be assigned seats on buses?

No, but many schools do assign seats, particularly in younger grades.

Will students be let off buses if there is no one there to meet them?

Yes, unless a student explicitly tells the bus driver that the person he/she expects to pick him/her up is not there. In this case, the bus driver will call 911 to report the student abandoned unless the bus company has an agreement with the school to bring the student back to the school. Young students should be taught not to get off the bus if there is no parent or guardian there to meet them. Here are more detailed rules that will help make students’ trips to and from school safe.

The Charter Center recommends having bus attendants on buses, particularly for young children and at the beginning of the school year, so children are not let off the bus when no one is there to pick them up.

Are schools required to have bus safety drills?

Yes, schools are required to conduct at least three school bus safety drills per year:

  1. During first week of fall term
  2. Between November 1 and December 31
  3. Between March 1 and April 30

Requirements for drills can be found at this page. Please note that not all buses are required to have seatbelts. Schools must complete a Certification of Performance School Bus Safety Drills Form and keep Certificates of Compliance on file at school. 

Are bus companies assigned to schools?

Yes. When the OPT distributes bus routing sheets at the start of the school year, a bus company for the relevant district is listed. If a school has school days outside the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) school calendar, it needs to make special arrangements with the bus company to cover those days.

What should a school do if it has problems with its bus company?

Contact OPT customer service at 718.392.8855. If necessary, customer service will assist with the process of documenting any problems. Bus companies will be fined for not performing in accordance with NYCDOE standards.