Frequently Asked Questions for the Transportation Department
1. Who should I call if the bus does not arrive to pick up my child on time?
Your child should be at their bus stop five (5) minutes before the scheduled arrive time. Ten (10) minutes after your scheduled route time, you should call the Transportation Department if needed. Please have your child's bus number as well as the school, child's name and stop location. Route times may fluctuate during the first few weeks of school, so please be patient with us during this time.
2. What are the Transportation Department hours?
The Transportation Department is open from 5:00 am until 6:00 pm on school days (or until all route buses have returned to the Transportation Department).
3. Can the driver stop at my house to pick up or drop off my child?
Only certain students, whose needs are addressed through an IEP plan, are eligible for "curbside service." "Curbside" service is normally restricted to situations where a less restrictive environment is not possible or where medical issues require this type of service. For other students, service is provided in accordance with district guidelines. In accordance with NCISD Board Policy CNA (LOCAL), Elementary students (PK-5) may be required to walk up to 0.15 miles (or 800 feet) to a bus stop. Secondary students (6-12) may be required to walk up to 0.25 miles (or 1300 feet).
Board Policy CNA (LOCAL) also states that buses will not travel dead end streets that are shorter than 0.25 miles due to the dangers associated with backing a school bus. This distance may be longer on certain roads that don't have a safe, approved location to turn the bus around at.
4. Who should I report my address or telephone number changes to?
The school registrar should be contacted as soon as possible with all address and telephone number information changes. The registrar will put the information into the system allowing visibility to the Transportation Department. Transportation Staff cannot change your address information.
5. Why doesn't someone call me when the school bus is running late?
Situations such as traffic, road closures, weather, vehicle breakdowns or a late prior route can cause school buses to run late. Since we operate approximately 100 buses, it is impossible to contact parents when the bus is slightly late. Office staff has no visibility as to which child rode the bus that day. However, we are in radio contact with all of our buses and when we determine the bus will be 30 or more minutes late, we attempt to contact the school.
6. How will I be notified of a change to my child's stop time, stop location or bus number?
If the change in time is less than five minutes, the driver will notify the students of the change. If there is a change in stop location or bus assignment the Transportation Department will send written notification home with the students.
7. I got home late (in PM) and I cannot find my child. The school is closed and no one answers the phone at the school. What do I do?
Calling the Transportation department is usually the best option under these circumstances. The transportation staff can assist you in locating your child.
8. I have a question regarding a bus stop location or pick up/drop time. Who should I call?
Please contact the Transportation department. The staff is trained to answer most of the service questions. If the person does not know the answer, they will know who to contact and have your call returned with the answer. You may also obtain routing information by calling your child's home campus. Campus administration has access to E-Link which gives them the routing information you are looking for. You will also find transportation staff at meet the teacher nights. In the future, route information will be available online. We continue to work on protecting your child's security, so at this time, we are not ready to put routing information online for parents/students.
9. My child's bus is overcrowded. Can some children be placed on another bus?
School bus sizes are stated in terms of passenger capacity. It is assumed that elementary school-aged children will ride three (3) per seat. Every attempt will be made to limit middle and high school students to ride two (2) per seat. Even if the bus has three (3) elementary students or two (2) middle or high school students in each seat, it will seem crowded but it will not be over capacity. It is our goal to fully utilize all the space on all of the buses in our fleet.
10. I can not see my child's bus stop from my house. How can I get the bus stop moved closer?
The bus stops are located at centralized locations that can be safely accessed by a significant number of students to minimize the time and mileage of a run. If you have a concern about your child's safety, you are encouraged to accompany your child to the bus stop. As a safety consideration it is safer to have several students wait at a stop versus an individual. New Caney ISD utilizes group stops where possible to cut down on the amount of ride time students are having to ride the bus. Also, in accordance with NCISD Board Policy CNA (LOCAL), Elementary students (PK-5) may be required to walk up to 0.15 miles (or 800 feet) to a bus stop. Secondary students (6-12) may be required to walk up to 0.25 miles (or 1300 feet). Students may also be required to walk further in newer subdivisions that have multiple houses under construction (active construction), as buses cannot fit down roads where there are vehicles parked on both sides.
11. Why are the school bus seats spaced so close together?
The purpose of spacing school bus seats so close is to contain the child in a cushioned compartment with only a minimum amount of space between energy-absorbing surfaces.
In the 1970's the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Safety Administration determined that the safest and best arrangement for school bus seating would be a "compartmentalization" concept. Under this concept, seat backs are made higher, wider and thicker than before. All metal surfaces are covered with foam padding. They must also have a steel inner structure that springs and bends forward to help absorb energy when a child is thrown against it. The seat is required to be anchored to the floor so strongly that it will not pull loose during this bending action. The floor must be so strong that it will not be bent or torn by the pulling action of the seat anchors.
Finally, if the seats are too far apart, the child could be thrown too far before being cushioned and/or could be thrown outside of the bus compartment altogether. The rule today states that the seat back be no farther than 24" away from a defined point.
12. Why don't they require seat belts on the school buses?
Seat belts are not required by law in school buses. Research has determined that compartmentalization is a better solution, as listed under question #11. Some arguments favoring compartmentalization over seat belts are as follows:
Compartmentalization is easier to manage. The protection of the seats exists without having to depend on any actions by the driver or the students. Seat belts require supervision and discipline to keep them clean and in use.
Compartmentalization works well for one, two or three students per seat. To arrange seat belts to properly handle any combination is difficult; the best solution with seat belts is to restrict each seat to two students and two belts; which would reduce the capacity of the bus.
Conventional seat belts which are lap restraints are not suitable for small children whose abdominal area and bone structure are not developed to take the force of a lap belt alone.
Compartmentalization, once it has done its job, leaves students free to evacuate the bus. Seat belts could leave students strapped in, upside down, or unconscious in burning or flooding buses.
13. My child left a jacket (books, instrument, etc.) on the bus. How can he get it back?
The drivers must check their bus after each run. Items left on the bus by students will be held by the driver and may be claimed by the child. Fragile, expensive items are taken off the bus in the evening for their protection, but the driver will bring them back on the bus the next morning to be claimed. If an item does not get claimed the driver will turn it into the school's lost and found or the Transportation center if they are not sure which school the item belongs to.
14. Where does my child get his/her Smart Tag ID from?
When students enroll in the district, the home campus will receive the ID within 1-2 days to give to the student.
15. Will my child be able to ride the bus without the Smart Tag ID?
Students are expected to have their ID card when boarding and exiting the bus. Failure to have the card will result in disciplinary action (including suspension from the bus). Please see question #19 below in regards to the privilege to ride the school bus.
16. What if my student has lost his/her Smart Tag ID card?
Replacement cards can only be obtained from the Transportation Department, which is located at 21026 Loop 494. The replacement card will cost $5, and the payment must be received before the card will be re-issued. The cost of the replacement card covers the expense of the RFID card, printing, lanyard (Elem only), plastic pouch, and staff processing time involved with printing and re-assigning a new ID card. The fee is similar to what is charged at our high school campuses when ID cards are lost and/or forgotten (School ID cards do not contain RFID technology). RFID technology increases our cost, while at the same time providing you an additional layer of comfort and safety when your child rides the bus.
17. What happens to my Pre-K or Kindergarten student if there is no authorized person at the bus stop?
The child will be returned to his/her elementary campus, where it will then be the parent's responsibility to come and get them. After your student's been returned to the campus three times, bus riding privileges will be suspended on the take home service. Your student may continue to ride the bus to school only. Should you need to add additional authorized persons to receive your child at the bus stop, you may do so by calling the Transportation Department at 281-577-8680.
18. What if I want my child to get off the bus at another address other than my house?
In accordance with the Texas Education Agency Transportation Guidelines as well as the Student Handbook, "Transfers to a location other than a student’s home are not permitted except that a parent may designate a child-care facility or grandparent’s residence as the regular pickup and drop-off location for his or her child. This change must be effective for the entire school year and may not be adjusted. The designated facility or residence must be on an approved stop on an approved route within the school’s attendance zone. "
19. Which students are required to be provided transportation in Texas?
"The only students that your school district is required to provide transportation to are certain students receiving special education who would be unable to attend classes without special transportation services and certain students eligible under Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act who would be unable to attend classes without special transportation services." (Information provided by Texas Education Agency)
19. My child's bus information card has an "A" or a "B" next to the route number. What does this mean?
Because New Caney ISD is growing an average of 7% over the last several years, it is necessary to double some routes in the evening from campuses. This means if your child is on the "B" run, the bus will leave the school to run the "A" run, and return within 25 minutes to pick up the "B" run students.