Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How do I know if my child is eligible for yellow school bus transportation?

A. Students must reside within the designated attendance boundary of the school they are attending and meet the minimum transportation eligibility, such as distance requirements, as follows:

  • Kindergarten – must reside 0.8 km or more from their school
  • Grades 1-8 – 1.6 km or more from their school
  • Grades 9-12 – 3.2 km or more from their school

Q. Can my child take the yellow school bus from their caregiver’s house?

A. OSTA will provide transportation to students in elementary grades (JK to Grade 8) whose caregiver resides within the designated attendance boundary of the school the student attends, who have had their attendance at the designated school approved under member Board transfer processes, and whose caregiver’s address meets the minimum transportation eligibility distance requirements.

Q. How do I find out which bus stop my child should use?

A. You can also use our handy online Parent Portal, which allows parents to  access bus stop information for their children.

Q. What is the process for having a bus stop location changed?

A. You may submit a form, provided in the Parent Portal,  should you have a concern about the existing bus stop location. In urban residential areas, bus stops are to be community collection points placed at street corners as much as possible. This reduces bus ride times dramatically, and increases student safety by reducing other motorist frustrations. In order to ensure that all buses arrive on time for school there needs to be an optimal amount of bus stops that are equally accessible for all of the children in the area. For every unexpected stop that the bus driver has to make it will change the pre-determined schedule for those students who have not been picked up yet and will cause the bus to arrive at school late.

Q. How early should I have my child out waiting for the bus?

A. Depending on the distance of your child’s bus stop you should have them leave with enough time to be at their bus stop 10 minutes before the bus arrives.

Q. Can my child attend an out of boundary school?

Approval must be obtained before a student may attend an out of boundary school. Transportation to that school would be the responsibility of the parent/guardian.

Q. What happens if I am not at the bus stop to meet my child who is in junior or senior kindergarten?

A. The bus driver is not permitted to drop off a junior or senior kindergarten student unless there is a caregiver at the bus stop to meet them. If there is not an adult or designated caregiver present the driver has no choice but to return the child to the school and the parents will have to pick them up. Please note, if this becomes an ongoing problem transportation privileges will be suspended. If someone new is going to meet your child, make sure it is verified through the school. The bus driver will then be informed through the school of the new arrangements.

Q. What is Safety Awareness Day for First Time Riders?

A. The First Ride program is an education and awareness program. It is designed to promote school bus safety to young children and their parents. It familiarizes young children who are beginning school with school buses and helps them overcome any fears they may have about riding on the “big yellow bus”. It also provides information to children and their parents on school bus safety procedures, including how to get on and off the bus safely. The program is planned as a fun learning experience for the participants.

Q. Why do buses stop at railway crossings?

A. The Highway Traffic Act has been amended to require that school buses stop at all railway crossings, whether the crossing is protected by gates or railway signal lights. The driver must stop the vehicle not less than 5 metres from the nearest rail of the railway; look in both directions along the track; open a door of the vehicle and listen to determine if a train is approaching; and, when it is safe to do so, cross the railway track in a gear that will not need to be changed while crossing the track. The driver must not change gears when the bus is actually crossing the tracks. The flashing lights and stop arm must not be activated.

Q.  I feel it is not safe for the busses to be operating today. Do I have to put my children on the bus?

A. It is parental choice whether to put their child(ren) on the bus on days when transportation has been deemed operational.

Q. Why are school buses not equipped with seat belts?

A. Transport Canada sets safety standards for school vehicles at time of manufacture. These standards include high seat backs with energy absorbing padding, seats that are placed close together, and strong seat anchorages. In 1984, Transport Canada conducted research on the use of seat belts on school buses in frontal collisions using the current configuration. It was found that adding seat belts to this system did not increase safety but did increase the potential for more severe head and neck injuries. Transport Canada also tested several other seating configurations, but found no significant safety improvements that did not also involve other safety trade-offs. Given the extremely low number of fatalities involving school bus passengers inside the bus, the addition of seat belts does not constitute a safety advantage. (Source: Transport CanadaMinistry of Transportation Ontario)

Do you want to request a change to a bus stop location?

All requests for changes to bus stop locations must be made in writing to OSTA. Requests for stop changes can not be made over the phone. Requests for changes to stop locations will not be considered until after October 1. Please be aware that school bus drivers are not authorized to make route/stop adjustments. To ensure that your request is directed to the correct person for action, please ensure that your request is sent to the zone in which your child’s school is located.



Do you have a concern about a school bus driver?

Your feedback is very important to the bus companies which transport your child. They strive to ensure that drivers take every precaution possible for the safety of your child. Should you have a concern regarding a particular school bus driver, please have your bus route number handy, and contact the transportation operator (company) directly.



Do you want to change your address or caregiver information?

Please contact the office administrator at your child’s school should you wish to report a change to your child’s address or caregiver information. The school will update their student records and this change will automatically be sent to OSTA to apply transportation service changes, if applicable. Any change to your child’s transportation becomes effective on the fourth working day after the change has been entered by the school.

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