FAQs

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Q: Are Yellow Buses safe?

School buses are some of the safest vehicle on the road today. According the National Safety Council Statistics, school buses are 172 times safer than passenger cars in terms of occupant deaths per 100 million passenger miles traveled. School buses rank much better than any other form of surface transportation.

Q: Who operates the buses?

First Student operates the Yellow Buses for our program. First Student is the largest provider of school bus services in the United States and transports over six million students daily. The yard that services RUSD is in Richmond. 

Q: Who administers the bus program?

The day-to-day operations of the Yellow Bus program are managed by Marin Transit. Strategic oversight and planning of the program are handled by the Tiburon Peninsula Traffic Relief JPA.

Q: What are the qualifications of the drivers?

First Student's drivers are fully certified, courteous, and professional. In addition to a Commercial Driver's License, school bus drivers must also obtain a School Pupil Activity Bus (SPAB) certification. This certification process trains drivers on issues specific to student transportation and also includes fingerprinting and background checks.

Q: Will my child have the same driver each day?

First Student drivers are assigned the same routes each day, but they are entitled to sick days and vacation, and some driver attrition is inevitable. Routes and stops are programmed into bus GPSs, ensuring easy route familiarization for new drivers.

PASSES

Q: When do passes go on sale?

Passes go on sale at 9:00 AM PT on May 2, 2016 and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Q: How do I buy a pass?

Passes can be purchased online using a Visa, Master Card, American Express, or Discover credit card.

Q: How much does a pass cost?

The price of a one-way pass (morning or afternoon) is $275. That equates to roughly $1.50 per trip.  

Q: Are there discounts for multi-child families?

No.

Q: Are free passes available for qualifying students? 

Yes. For questions about free bus passes, please contact Charlesetta Smith at RUSD's District Office, at csmith@reedschools.org

Q: Are there limited seats available?

Yes. Each route has a limited number of seats available for sale and routes will close once full. Purchasing a seat early will help ensure your child gets a seat on the desired route. Parents will have the option to join a waitlist for available seats if buses sell out.

Q: Do you pro-rate the price of a pass during the year?

No. At its sole discretion, the JPA may reduce the price of passes as the year elapses, but there is no ongoing formulaic pro-rating.  Moreover, availability of these passes is based on unsold seats and is not guaranteed.

Q: When will I receive my child's pass?

Passes purchased before the end of July 2016 will be mailed on August 1, 2016 to the mailing address indicated at checkout. Passes purchased after this date will be mailed out within two business days of purchase. 

Q: Does my child need to show a pass to board the bus?

Yes. Students will receive a route-specific pass based on the bus stop and route selected at the time of purchase. Students must carry this pass whenever they ride the bus, even if the driver already knows the student.

Q: What if my child loses his/her bus pass?

If a child loses his/her pass, a replacement pass may be purchased online for $10. The pass will be mailed within two business days of purchase.

Q: Do you sell single or weekly passes?

At its sole discretion, the JPA may make single-trip passes available for a fee.  However, that product does not exist currently.

Q: Can I get a refund?

There are no refunds.  Even students whose passes have been revoked for failing to comply with bus ridership rules are ineligible for refunds. The only exception is if a child leaves RUSD. In that instance, the refund will be pro-rated based on the time remaining on the pass.

Q: Does a pass entitle my child to ride any bus he/she chooses?

No. Bus passes are specific to a route and stop and the driver expects your child to board/alight at that location.

BUS OPERATIONS

Q: What if the bus is late?

This sometimes happens due to traffic or mechanical problems. We are in the process of developing a tracking app to allow parents to track buses in real time and receive push notifications about delays or cancellations.

Q: How do I download the tracking app?

The tracking app will be available for download on August 1, 2016. Parents will be emailed a reminder.  

Q: What if my child misses the bus?

Missing the bus happens to some kids from time-to-time so please be prepared. Every family should have a backup plan where kids have a way to contact a parent or neighbor who can get them to school, or who they can notify if they plan to walk.

Q: Is there a Lost & Found?

If the driver finds lost items on the bus, he/she will adhere to the following protocol:

1. Keep the item on the bus for one week.

2. After one week, unclaimed items will be dropped at the RUSD District office (on the Bel Aire campus).

Please note the following exceptions:

1. High value items may be dropped at the District office after one day.

2. Not all buses visit Bel Aire regularly.  Try the other campus Lost & Found areas if you don't find an item at the District office.

3. The District may donate items left at its office after one week.

You can also try kzalewski@marintransit.org or info@buschallenge.org for additional help in tracking something down.

Q: Who do I call if there is a problem?

For all operational questions, including questions about late or cancelled buses, please contact Kelly Zalewski, our operations manager at Marin Transit. She can be reached via email at kzalewski@marintransit.org or via phone at 415-226-0872 

Q: What happens if there is an emergency?

In the event of an emergency or similar serious incident, First Student, Marin Transit, and the JPA Program Manager will dedicate themselves to securing the safety of students as a first priority and will respond to the incident accordingly.  Communication to parents will be sent as soon as possible once all necessary safety and response measures have been taken and information is available to share.

RIDING PRIVILEGES

Q: Can my child be assigned to more than one route?

All students are assigned to one route and one stop. If a child needs to ride more than one route, for example if he/she lives between parents' homes, please purchase a pass for each route he/she needs to ride.  

Q: Can my child get off at a different stop?

Drivers expect students to only travel to/from their assigned stop. This is done for safety reasons and allows the drivers to better monitor students.

Q: Can my child bring a friend home on the bus?

No, unless the friend has a pass for that particular route.

Q: What if my child has to cross the street?

Routes have been developed in partnership with the Tiburon Police Department to ensure safety and convenience. Where needed, a driver will stop oncoming traffic and allow students to cross in front of the bus.

Q: Can riders open the windows?

Yes. Kids are allowed to open the windows, except when common sense or the bus driver dictate otherwise.

Q: Can riders stick anything out the windows?

No. No part of a child's body should ever extend through a window, and no item of any kind may be thrown out of a window. 

Q: Can my child eat or drink on the bus?

No. Eating and drinking are prohibited.

DISCIPLINE

Q: How is discipline carried out on the bus?

Drivers are responsible for maintaining proper student supervision and monitoring of all students on board.

Q: What happens if a child doesn't follow the rules?

A verbal warning will first be issued to the student by the driver and documented with the operations manager at Marin Transit. If the student continues to misbehave, then an Incident Report Form will be filed and the parents will be informed.

As of Monday, November 7, bus drivers will have citation forms on the bus.  Citations will be used as a tool by the bus drivers to maintain a safe environment on the buses for all students.  The issuance of citations will be managed in partnership with Principals at each of the schools.

Q: Can my child's bus pass be taken away?

Yes. If a child does not respond to the progressive discipline assigned, a child's pass may be suspended or revoked without refund.

Q: Are parents financially responsible for vandalism?

Yes. Parents are financially responsible for vandalism caused by their child.