Bus Stop Process and Procedures

South Washington County School District #833 is committed to providing safe and efficient school bus transportation to its students. We have a long tradition of providing this service safely to all students that are eligible under Minnesota State laws, rules and regulations. The State of Minnesota currently requires transportation services for students who reside more than 2 miles from school. South Washington County Schools generally provides transportation to Elementary students (K-5) who live more than 1 mile from their designated attendance center, Middle School Students (6-8) living more than 1.5 miles and High School students (9-12) living more than 2 miles from their designated attendance center. Open enrolled and intra-district transfer students (i.e. students attending a school other than their designated attendance center) whose parent/guardian has signed a waiver of transportation, are not eligible for transportation services regardless of the distance.

Transportation to and from daycare: 

  • Only available for children up to 5th grade
  • Children must be picked up and/or dropped off at the daycare location five days a week. We cannot accommodate transportation to/from a daycare location for children that only attend one to four days a week.
  • Child's daycare must be located within the child's neighborhood school boundary.

Tips for Motorists

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges all motorists to drive safely and to remember these rules about school bus safety:

  • Be alert and slow down when driving in neighborhoods with school zones.
  • Watch for children walking, playing or assembling near bus stops. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
  • Obey the school bus laws in your State, as well as the "flashing signal light system" used for school buses.
  • Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.
    • Yellow lights are flashing PREPARE to stop.
    • Red lights are flashing = STOP 20+ feet from the bus or more.
    • Red lights are off =PROCEED with caution.

Tips for Students and Caregivers

-Arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. To keep buses and routes running on time please do not wait in a car or house. Students are most easily seen at the bus stop. 
-When at the bus stop, please stand at least three giant steps (six feet) away from the curb. The bus stop is not a place to run or play.
-When the school bus arrives, wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, the door opens, and the driver says it’s okay before approaching the bus door. Use the handrails to avoid falling.
-When getting off a bus, look for any cars passing on the shoulder. Wait for the bus driver to signal that it’s safe to cross. Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. Keep watching traffic when crossing.
-Never walk behind a school bus. Walk on a sidewalk or along the side of the street. Cross the street in front of the bus with at least five giant steps (10 feet) between the front of the bus and you. If you drop something near the school bus, like a ball or book, tell the bus driver immediately. Do not try to pick up the item because the driver might not be able to see you.

Bus Stops

Whenever possible, bus stops will be located at corners or intersections. Because of motorist expectations, bus stops at corners or intersections have been deemed the safest. When a bus stops mid-block it can confuse motorists, whereas traffic anticipates the bus will stop or yield at intersections. It also provides the bus driver or substitute driver a landmark (intersection) to identify prior to making the stop so the eight-lamp system can be properly activated to warn the motoring public. This also allows the bus driver to scan the area for students when approaching the intersection. The designated area that students wait for the bus must be within a bus length to the corner (about 40 feet). The bus driver will designate this area and then communicate this to students. State law and School Board Policy states students can walk up to one mile to a bus stop.

Bus Stop Change Request

Please review the following criteria and information before making a bus stop change request. If there are circumstances beyond what is described here, please complete one of the relevant forms HERE. Once the appropriate form is submitted, a Transportation Department representative will contact you within 3-5 business days (please allow more time during late August-early September). Please submit one request-submitting multiple requests for the same change will delay the process. Please note: School bus drivers do not have the authority to change bus routes or student stops.

Bus Stop Criteria and Information

  1. School buses will use the eight-light system and stop arm at all stops in the South Washington County School District unless an exception is made in policy or the stop is documented with an explanation. In order to properly operate the eight-light system, a bus stop will not be made within 300 feet of another.
  2. Buses serving students with disabilities may stop while using their 4-way hazard lights only at house stops where it takes an extended period of time to load/unload the student. At these stops, the bus will pull over to the curb at the driveway, the student will not be allowed to cross the roadway. Buses will not go into the student's driveway, unless prior approval has been given. The bus horn will not be used to announce arrival.
  3. Buses will not generally travel down cul-de-sacs unless the vehicle is picking up a student with special needs. Backing up a school bus is a dangerous maneuver. A full-sized bus needs 115 feet to safely turn and most cul-de-sacs are only 90 feet wide.
  4. Unless prior approval has been granted by the transportation department, school buses will not travel on private roads.
  5. Bus stops should be located with clear visibility for 300 feet in both directions. Stops in a residential area where the speed limit is 35 mph or less may not be located within 100 feet of each other.
  6. Stops in or out of residential areas where the speed limit is 35 mph or greater may not be located within 300 feet of each other.
  7. School Buses may load/unload in right-turn lanes if pre-approval has been given. Students may not cross the road the bus is stopped on when the bus stop is located in a right turn lane.
  8. There is not a fixed number of students that warrant adding or moving a bus stop. All bus stop change requests are evaluated on an individual basis.
  9. Visibility from the home to the bus stop is not a criteria for establishing bus stops. We view bus safety as a shared responsibility with families and we rely on families to ensure a student's personal safety to and from the bus stop.
  10. Stranger-Danger criteria is a considerable factor only when documented and verified by the transportation department with a law enforcement agency.
  11. A student's assigned bus driving by their home does not warrant adding or changing a bus stop. The higher frequency of stops can make the motoring public 'impatient', causing motorists to drive around the bus, which is a greater safety concern than the distance a student has to walk to the bus stop. A high number of bus stops also contributes to longer riding time for students.

Bus Routes

Bus routes are arranged according to geographic area and stops are assigned 1-3 blocks from a student's home whenever possible. Students that attend a school whose boundaries cover a large geographic area (i.e. Neuves Fronteras, Math and Science Academy, nonpublic) will be assigned to a station stop. Station stops are assigned based upon the number of students in an area or neighborhood. They are generally within 2-4 blocks of a student's home and are often centrally located to keep student riding time at a minimum. State guidelines recommend that no student ride the bus more than 1 hour each way every day. Bus routes, bus stops and/or times may change during the year based upon student location, road construction projects and various other factors.

Bus Ridership

Busing information will be communicated before the start of school each year. Students must ride their assigned bus to and from school. Students should be out at their assigned bus stop 5 minutes prior to their scheduled pickup time. Bus route numbers and animal pictures will be placed on the side of the bus. At the discretion of the bus driver, students may be assigned seats at any time. Students are expected to abide by all school bus safety rules, which are posted in every bus. Bus stops may be removed from a route if there have been no riders using the stop for ten consecutive days. Students in grades K-10 must attend school bus safety training within the first 6 weeks of school each year. This training is scheduled during the school day.   

Nonpublic Students

Minnesota Statutes require public school districts to provide equal transportation within the district for resident students attending nonpublic schools. Out of district students attending nonpublic schools within ISD 833 boundaries do not receive transportation services.

Transportation to/from a Licensed Daycare

The following daycare information will apply:

  1. Students in grades PreK-5 are eligible to be considered for an alternate bus stop for daycare purposes. 
  2. The licensed daycare provider must be located in the same boundary school attendance area where the child is enrolled.
  3. The pickup and drop off location must be the same location each morning and each afternoon. We cannot accommodate day variant scheduling. Licensed daycare transportation options are:
    • Pickup at home, drop off at daycare
    • Pickup at daycare, drop off at daycare
    • Pickup at daycare, drop off at home

To request an alternate bus stop near a licensed daycare location, please fill out the Alternate Bus Stop Request Form and submit it after July 1 of each year.

Intra-District Transfer

Intra-district transfer students are not eligible for transportation services.  Intra-transfer form and guidelines state the student/parent/guardian is responsible for providing transportation.