How are the bus routes designed?
Bus routes and stops are designed with consideration of safety, efficiency, least cost and ride times. Bus routes are designed to travel main roads through neighborhoods and utilize street corners, walk paths and mailbox shelters for pick-up/drop-off points.
Why are bus stops usually established at corners or intersections?
There are several reasons for this:
- Students are generally taught to cross at corners rather than in the middle of a street
- Traffic controls, such as stoplights or signs are located at corners. This tends to slow down motorists at corners and they tend to be more cautious as they approach intersections. The motoring public generally expects school buses to stop at corners rather than individual houses.
- Impatient motorists are less likely to pass buses at corners than along a street.
- In the winter, salting and sanding is usually done at corners, providing safer stopping for buses and cars.
- Bus drivers, especially substitutes, can locate corner stops easily, and do not need to search for individual house numbers.
- Corner stops, or central points, allow for consistency from year to year.
Why won’t the bus come into our cul-de-sac?
Once again, there are several reasons for this:
- Efficiency is paramount to our transportation system. Entering each cul-de-sac adds significant time to a route. Time the driver and students do not have.
- Minimizing bus stops reduce costs for fuel as well as wear and tear on the buses.
- Many cul-de-sacs are not designed for large vehicles. A full-sized bus needs at least 115 feet to safely turn and most cul-de-sacs are 90 feet wide.
- Backing a school bus is a dangerous maneuver and not recommended by the Minnesota State Highway Patrol.
- Many neighborhoods use the cul-de-sac as an extension of their yards. We do not want the driver to have to navigate parked cars, basketball hoops, boat trailers, and children’s toys.
How long will my student be on the bus?
It depends on the school your student attends. Most routes average 35 minutes or less. However, because a large part of our district is still rural, and the schools are not centrally located, some routes do run closer to 60 minutes.
If my student is the first on in the morning, will he/she be the first off in the afternoon?
Not necessarily. Routes are designed both in a “circular” style (same route in the morning and afternoon) or “straight line” style (farthest point to closest point, reverse in the afternoon.) While we would like to say the first on in the morning is the first off in the afternoon, we need to design the bus routes to be as efficient as possible.
Why does my student have to walk so far to a bus stop?
Effective with the 2018-19 school year, Eastern Carver County Schools determined .25 miles as an appropriate distance for students to walk to a bus stop. This distance extends to .5 mile if a student lives on a cul-de-sac or dead end street (see above.) As the district grows in population, the number of bus routes and the distance buses travel have increased. Having parameters for bus stops allows buses to make fewer stops and reduces the overall length of school bus trips. It is important for our all bus routes to run efficiently in a short period of time. This allows the bus to be on time for its next assignment.
What if I would like my student’s bus stop changed?
The Transportation Department considers requests for bus stop changes after a formal request is submitted by the parent/guardian. A Bus Stop Change Request Form can be found here. However, most bus stops are established for a reason, and will not be changed. Very rarely will we consider house stops in suburban neighborhoods. It is not possible to provide bus stops that are within sight of all student homes or daycares. Most families that live even one house from the corner cannot see the corner bus stop without coming out of their homes. We encourage parents/guardians, or a responsible adult, to be out at bus stops to promote proper pedestrian and bus stop behavior.
Why can’t the bus stop at my house? It drives right by us?
Each time a bus enters a neighborhood, it is likely to pass by one or more student residences as it approaches a bus stop. Stopping at individual houses would be inefficient, extend travel time, and increase the possibility that drivers miss stops/students (especially when there is a substitute driver). Bus stops are established to service as many students as possible, and to be consistent from year to year.
Why does my child have to walk to school?
The School District has established no busing zone for schools for each grade level. No bussing zones have been created for each school using these parameters. At this time, hazardous road situations are identified in each zone. The current parameters are:
- Grades K-5 .5 mile
- Grades 6-8 1.0 mile
- Grades 9-12 2.0 mile
- Effective with the 2018-19 school year, Eastern Carver County Schools determined .25 miles as an appropriate distance for students to walk to a bus stop. This distance extends to .5 mile if a student lives on a cul-de-sac or dead end street.
How is the distance to school determined?
The Transportation Department has a computerized mapping system that determines the distance to school for each student. If there is a question, a Transportation Staff member will walk the distance with a measuring device to verify the measurement. The distance is calculated from the center of the street in front of the residence driveway to safest, most direct point that the student will enter the school’s campus. The measurement does not include the resident’s personal property, nor the schools property.
My student needs to be picked up or dropped off at a daycare. What do I do?
You will need to fill out an Alternate Address form and submit it to the Transportation Office. The form is available at each school, or can be found on our website. Once the form is submitted, it usually takes 2-3 days before the change goes into effect, so please don’t wait until the last minute. This form must be filled out each year, it does not carry over. This is also the form that should be used for shared custody circumstances, and should be filled out by both parents. There is only one alternate address allowed, and the schedule for the student to be transported to that address must be consistent from week to week.
Why does my High School Student have to register for bussing?
To be as efficient as possible, we require the students attending Chaska, Chanhassen, and Holy Family High Schools and Integrated Arts Academy to register for bussing. This allows us to create routes that truly serve the students who need bussing. Many high school students do not ride the bus due to their own personal schedules or preferences. A student may register for bussing at any time, and we will start service as soon as possible, normally within 2 days or receiving the registration form.
The bus seems very full. Why are there so many students on this route?
Transportation is a very expensive service for a school district. School buses are very expensive to operate, and there is a constant shortage of top-quality drivers available to drive them. Because of this, the Transportation Department aims load buses to 95% of the appropriate-rated capacity whenever possible. For elementary students (K-5) students are expected to sit 3 to a seat. For secondary students (6-12) students are expected to sit 2 to a seat. Our standard bus size is rated for 77 elementary students, so we can have 73 students on an elementary route, and 50 on a secondary route.
My student needs to bring a band instrument or sports equipment to school.
Anything the student brings on the bus must be able to be on the student’s lap when seated. Large items like musical instruments can only be transported if there is room on the bus, and must be stowed in the front seats. Skis, snowboards, scooters and similar items are not allowed on the school buses.
Does my child have to wear a seatbelt on the bus?
It is state law, that If your child’s bus is equipped with seatbelts, they are required to wear them while riding the bus. Eastern Carver County Schools has begun to add school buses equipped with 3-point shoulder seatbelts. Currently there are about 40 buses with these belts. The buses are assigned by driver seniority.
Will buses run their normal route during inclement weather?
Roads in our rural areas, particularly gravel roads, can be become risky for travel during winter weather. Freezing rain and snow covered roads can create unsafe conditions that put our school buses and our students at a higher risk of getting stuck or worse. If a road is unplowed, or otherwise deemed too risky to travel by bus, the district will announce that buses will only travel on plowed roads. This will remain in effect until it's determined that road conditions have improved.
Parents may want to meet their student's bus at an otherwise scheduled bus stop on the route. Please contact the transportation department at email@example.com to inquire about possible alternate bus stops.
Revised: Winter 2023