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    Transportation Frequently Asked Questions

    How can I contact Transportation?

    Seattle Public Schools Transportation Department can be reached in the following ways:

    Email: transdept@seattleschools.org
    Phone: 206-252-0900

    Mail:
    Seattle Public Schools
    Transportation Department
    PO BOX 34165
    MS 23-169
    Seattle, WA 98124-1165

    Please include your student’s name, student ID number and contact information that you can be reached at.

    PLEASE NOTE: Seattle Public Schools Transportation Department receives the highest volume of calls when school buses are providing service, between 7-10 a.m. and 2-5 p.m.


    Is my student eligible for transportation?

    A student's eligibility for transportation is determined based on the following factors:

    • Grade Level
      • Elementary and K-8 school sites have a 1 mile walk boundary. Eligible students are provided service primarily on yellow school buses.
      • Middle school sites have a 2 mile walk boundary. Service is either yellow school bus or ORCA card based on the  following conditions.
        • If the student's assignment address is within the attendance area, AND outside of the 2 mile walk boundary, the student is eligible for district arranged transportation (usually yellow bus service).
        • If the student's assignment address within the attendance area, AND inside of the walk boundary, they are not eligible for transportation.
          • (Note: In the 2019-20 Transportation Service Standards, "Middle School Students (other than those that attend Aki Kurose or Jane Addams) who live more than 1.5 miles but less than 2 miles from their attendance area school receive ORCA cards as an exception to normal Middle School eligibility standards.)
        • If the student's assignment address is outside of the attendance area, AND outside of the 2.0 mile walk boundary, they will be provided with an ORCA card.
      • High school sites have a 2 mile walk boundary.
        • For 2019-20, all High School Students will be provided with an ORCA card based on the District's partnership with the City of Seattle.
    • School/Program
      • Transportation service at attendance area schools is limited to their attendance area boundary.
      • Transportation service at Option schools are usually limited to the Middle School attendance area in which they are geographically located.
      • If a student is placed in a program that is not available at the attendance area school, then transportation is usually provided in alignment with the Linked Schools Charts. Choice assignments are not eligible for transportation.

    Additional information about transportation eligibility can be found in the Transportation Service Standards, which are located on the main transportation webpage.

    If there are additional questions/inquires about transportation eligibility please contact the Seattle Public Schools transportation office.


    What should I do if my student’s bus is late?

    Drivers plan to run routes as scheduled. However, it is possible for delays to occur due to traffic, weather, construction and other circumstances.

    When the bus is late, we recommend that your student stay at the bus stop location. The bus, or a replacement bus will complete the route as soon as possible and you may miss the bus if you are not at the stop. Families should create a plan with their student in the event that the bus is late.

    To get an update on the status of your student’s route, check the delayed bus information page on the transportation website. You may also contact transportation at 206-252-0900.


    Can I/my student change to a different bus route/bus stop?

    Students may have one bus stop in the morning and one bus stop in the afternoon. If you are requesting a stop change for a daycare or alternate address you will need to contact the transportation office and provide the following information:

    • Complete daycare/alternate address
    • Name of the person responsible for your student
    • A phone number that person can be reached at
    • Your student’s name, student ID number and your contact information

    Normal processing for a stop change request could take up to two weeks. Additional processing time should be expected during the start of the school year due to the high volume of requests. If you are requesting a different bus route or different stop location you will need to contact the transportation office and request your preferred bus/bus stop. Plan on providing a brief explanation for why you are requesting the change.

    Your request will be checked against safety guidelines and the Transportation Service Standards. To see the Transportation Service Standards visit the main transportation webpage

    Responses to requests are usually answered through the mail with a new assignment or a denial letter explaining the reasons for the decision.


    I have a complaint regarding my student’s bus driver/bus service. What do I do?

    To report a complaint you should contact the transportation office by email at transdept@seattleschools.org or 206-252-0900.

    Be prepared to report the following information:

    • Bus route, date/time that the incident occurred
    • Explanation of the incident
    If you would like a response to the investigation you will need to leave your name and contact information.

    Do I have to be at the bus stop in order for the bus driver to let my child off the bus?

    For general education students in grades K- 12, parents do not have to be at the bus stop for their child to be let off the bus. However, we encourage all parents/guardians to have a plan in place so that their student arrives home safely.

    Special education students in Pre-K and kindergarten must be met at their bus stop location in the afternoon.

    Special education students in grades first through 12th must be met at their bus stop location, unless their parent/guardian has turned in the release of responsibility form which gives permission for their student to get off the bus without someone present. The release of responsibility form is available on the main Transportation page. It is also available from your student’s bus driver.

    If a special education student cannot be dropped off because someone was not there for them, or a general education student was uncomfortable getting off the bus without someone there to meet them the following will occur:

    • The bus driver will contact their dispatcher to let them know that they have a student who cannot/will not get off the bus and in most cases, continue on their route to deliver any other students still on the bus.
    • The dispatcher will alert transportation staff who will attempt to contact the parent/guardian.
      • If the parent/guardian can be reached, arrangements will be made to connect the student to their parent/guardian.
      • If the parent/guardian cannot be reached, all other emergency contacts will be attempted.
      • In the event that no one can be reached, the student will either be returned to school and placed in the care of the school staff, or brought to the nearest police precinct. The parent/guardian will be responsible for picking their student up.

    Is my alternative/daycare eligible for transportation?

    Alternative/daycare addresses must also meet eligibility guidelines set by the transportation service standards.

    Each student’s transportation has been established using the home or alternate/daycare address currently in our records.

    If you are requesting a change to your current service address you will need to email the transportation office at transdept@seattleschools.org.

    Required information includes the following:

    • Complete daycare/alternate address
    • Name of the person responsible for your student
    • A phone number that person can be reached at
    • Your student’s name, student ID number and contact information that you can be reached at

    Responses to requests are usually answered through the mail with a new assignment or a denial letter explaining the reasons for the decision.


    Can I get an Orca card for my student?

    ORCA cards are provided to students who meet eligibility requirements in the Transportation Service Standards.

    Please visit our ORCA card page for current ORCA card information.


    I had a bus last year. Why don’t I get a bus this year?

    There are a number of reasons why transportation service for you/your student may have changed.

    There are ongoing modifications to school assignment boundaries and several building relocations, as schools are constructed or updated, each year which impact the transportation being provided.

    In some cases, students who had specialized transportation services included their IEP before may no longer require the same level of service they were being provided during the previous school year.


    Can I change my student’s drop off bus stop for a day to go to a friend’s house?

    Yes, your student may ride home with another student who is assigned to a bus route. A temporary transportation pass (yellow card) can be obtained through your student’s school. Most schools require a signed note from the parent/guardian giving permission for their student to ride the bus to another stop location. You will need to obtain the bus number and stop location.


    When will my student's bus route arrive at school in the morning?

    Buses routes are planned so that students arrive 15 minutes prior to school. The goal is to have buses arrive at the school with at least 10 minutes for breakfast before school starts.


    Does the transportation office have a plan for inclement weather?

    Yes, the transportation department develops snow routes to respond to ice and snow event, and collaborates closely with the City Of Seattle Department of Transportation to ensure a coordinated response during these events. See the inclement weather transportation plan for details.