< All Topics

Bus Routes


When planning bus routes, safety of the children is top priority.


  1. Bus routes are developed by the driver with assistance from the Center Manager and/or support staff.  Transportation/Safety Specialist (TSS) will be consulted in unusual situations.
  2. NOCAC staff will consider the following when creating a bus route:
    1. Traffic flow
    2. Crossing of roads
    3. Nearby intersections
    4. Driveways, hills and curves
    5. Visibility and railroad crossing
  3. A bus route must be approved by the TSS before it can be implemented.
  4. Each bus will have a detailed bus route (which can be found on the Google Drive folder: titled “Current Year Bus Route”) on board that includes the following information:
    1. Direction to designated stops;
    2. Time schedule;
    3. Designated stop;
    4. Driver-designated place of safety;
    5. Number of riders at each stop location and residence side; and
    6. List identifying road hazards (ex: railroads) or when crossing over divided highways
  5. Order of pick up and drop off:
    1. Best practice is….the first pick up will be the child who lives the farthest form the site.
    2. Best practice is….the first drop off will be the child who lives the closest to the site.
    3. Best practice is….children are seated three to a seat, trying to avoid backseats.
    4. Bus seats are to be filled front to back.
  6. Children will be picked up and dropped off at a regular bus stop that is based on the established route.
    1. EMERGENCY Bus Route changes can be made when necessary
    2. NON-EMERGENCY Bus Route changes – Must be received in writing at least 24 hours prior to the affected change.
    3. If a child moves and the length of the route remains the same or is increased by no more than 15 minutes from the original route, email the updated bus route to the TSS.
    4. If a child moves and the route is increased by more than 15 minutes, the driver must call the TSS.
      1. The driver and the TSS will work together to see if there is better solution.
      2. The Family and Community Engagement Team will be consulted as necessary to assist in meeting the family’s transportation needs.
  7. Vehicle capacity (including Bus Monitor and other adults) will not be exceeded. There must be a seatbelt for every child and adult on the bus.
  8. NOCAC Head Start bus drivers are responsible for keeping the bus routes up to date.
    1. Drivers must email the TSS an updated bus route BEFORE it is implemented.
  9. NOCAC Head Start driver or designated staff must inform all parents of significant bus route changes before the changes are implemented.
  10. The time a child is in transit to and from the program must not exceed one hour unless there is no shorter route available or any alternative shorter route is either unsafe or impractical.
    1. Bus route time begins as soon as the first child is picked up and “ends” as soon as the last child is dropped off.
  11. The bus should leave the center at the same time every day.
  12. The bus route should be followed in its entirety to ensure parents with accurate bus times.
    1. Exception is when the child at the first or last stop is going to be absent.
  13. Bus stops will be on the resident side of the street unless a left-handed stop has been approved.
    1. Staff must obtain written authorization (via email) from the NOCAC Head Start/ECE Director BEFORE a left-hand pick up/drop off is implemented.
    2. The parent/care giver will escort the child across the street for pick-up and drop-off.
    3. The driver/teacher will inform the parent about the hand signals and the procedure to be used.
  15. Each child is picked up door-to-door except in unusual circumstances. The TSS must approve a bus stop if not at the child’s home.
  16. When road closures or hazardous conditions warrant an alternate route, the NOCAC Head Start/ECE Director, TSS or Center Manager must be contacted for approval to change the route.
  17. Drivers do not back up or make U-turns except when necessary (HSPPS 1303.73).
    1. If a back up or turnaround is necessary, it must be done after the child is on the bus or before the child is released at drop off.
    2. All backups and turnarounds must have prior approval by the TSS; it will also be noted on the bus route form.

Forms and Additional Guidance:

This policy complies with the following

Head Start Program Performance Standard:    1303.73(i)
ODJFS Child Care Manual:    
CACFP Regulation:    
Caring for Our Children:    
Other Sources:    Pupil Transportation Operation and Safety Rules-July 2013 3301-83-13


Effective Date:   8/7/2017 Reviewed Date:   12/20/19, 6/14/22
Approved By Policy Council:   8/7/2017 Revision Approved By Policy Council:   12/20/19
Table of Contents