Transportation - Frequently Asked Questions
1. The bus drives right past my house. Why can’t it stop at my house?
The higher frequency of stops makes the motoring public impatient. This results in people attempting to drive around the bus, which creates a dangerous situation. It also delays the bus by increasing the number of stops and makes the student ride time longer. Stops are placed to be central to groups of students in a subdivision or specific area.
2. I can't see the bus stop from my house.
Mars Area School District provides transportation for more than 2,900 students.The District is not able to position bus stops so that all parents are able to see the stop from their home.
3. Who is responsible for students at school bus stops?
Parents are solely responsible for their child(ren) at school bus stops. It is important that parents monitor their child's behavior and ensure that their child(ren) wait for the school bus in a safe location away from the road.
4. We live on a cul-de-sac. Will the bus come down our street?
Except for special education circumstances, buses are generally not routed into a cul-de-sac. Cul-de-sac stops are considered unwise for the following reasons:
- Cul-de-sac stops create blind spots, often causing students to enter or exit in a "danger zone" around the bus (at a corner stop or street curb stop, they enter/exit outside the danger zone).
- Different styles and sizes of buses make maneuvering in cul-de-sacs difficult.
- The rear of the bus has potential to swing around close to the sidewalk.
- Parked cars and other obstacles create road hazards that may not be seen until entering the cul-de-sac and at a point of no return.
- Property damage to mailboxes and landscaping.
- Backing up a bus to turn around in a cul-de-sac creates a dangerous situation.
5. Why can’t you come further into my subdivision or cul-de-sac?
Buses come in various lengths, widths, heights and weights. The length is what limits the school bus to be maneuvered in cul-de-sacs and tight places. Most subdivisions are not designed with school bus transportation in mind.
6. Why do some children have to cross the street to board the bus?
Mars Area School District is not able to route buses so that all children can board the bus on the door side. Students should always wait on the side of the street where they live and wait until the bus has stopped traffic in all directions before crossing the street.
7. My child carries a large musical instrument and/or heavy backpack and he is the only student using the stop. Can the bus stop be located closer to our home?
Bus stops are centrally located for all students along a route. Bus stops are not changed to accommodate one or more students because that may displace other students farther from their home.
8. I leave for work early and can’t watch my child get on the bus. Can’t the stop be at my home?
To be consistent and fair in placement of bus stops, Mars Area School District is not able to establish stops based on personal circumstances.
9. Why is my child’s bus late?
Weather, traffic, driver absenteeism and unforeseen incidents are responsible for delays in arrival of school buses. Please know that we do everything possible to have all buses running on schedule each and every day. In the event that your bus does not arrive as scheduled, contact the A.J. Myers & Sons, bus contractor, at (724) 625-2032 or Mrs. Jane Roth, District Transportation Coordinator, at (724) 625-1507. Please allow 10-15 minutes before calling.
10. The bus passes my assigned stop twice; may I skip my assigned bus stop and catch the bus at a later time on its return trip?
The bus stops once at each assigned bus stop. The bus is not permitted to stop again. Bus drivers are only permitted to stop at designated bus stops at designated times. Most stops are designed for door side pick up. The second stop at a bus stop is not the designated stop. The second stop may not be door side.
11. Why is there an address stop on the route if buses don't make home stops?
Address stops are general bus stops and are not specific to any one residence. Address stops may occur on rural roads and major highways.
All school district buses only stop at filtering streets in housing plans.
12. My child was late and missed the bus so we drove to a location we knew the bus would pass; will the bus stop for my child?
No, bus drivers are only permitted to stop at designated stops.
13. I am required to be at my kindergartner’s assigned bus stop for discharge; what if I am late or unable to be at the stop at the designated time?
The bus driver is not permitted to discharge a kindergarten student unless a parent/guardian and/or a responsible teenage sibling is present at the designated stop to receive the student. If a responsible party is not present, then the student will be returned to the Bus Garage (located off Route 228 West at 229 7th Ave., Valencia), from where the student's parent/guardian will be contacted and required to promptly pick up their student.
14. I regularly meet my elementary student at his bus stop for discharge but occasionally I am late. Will the bus driver wait for me?
Only kindergarten students are required to have an adult at the bus stop for discharge, all other students are discharged regardless if an adult is at their stop. If your child is hesitant or fearful to discharge the bus because you are not at the stop the bus driver will return the student to their school or the bus garage and the parent will be contacted to pick up their child.
15. Why can’t you call when you know the bus will be late?
There are numerous students on each bus. It would be impossible to contact everyone in such a short time frame. And, many parents are not home or are waiting at their child's stop.
16. My child is starting kindergarten. Will the bus pick my child up in front of the house?
There are no special laws or requirements for transporting students enrolled in kindergarten.
Mars Area School District does not provide mid-day kindergarten bus service. AM kindergarten students ride the elementary school bus to school and parents are responsible for picking up those students from AM Kindergarten. Parents are responsible for dropping off their students at PM kindergarten and those students receive bus transportation at the end of the school day.
Kindergarten students will not be dropped off without a parent or authorized guardian visible to receive the student. If no one is home to receive the student, that student will be returned to the school or to the bus garage and the parent will have to make arrangements to pick the student up from the school or the bus garage.
17. Why are there only a few students on some buses and my child’s bus is crowded?
Decisions regarding each bus route are made by careful planning based on information from school registration and previously used routes. Most routes are fixed in late summer. Distance from school and grouping of students and neighborhoods are all factors that are considered. Sometimes it is just not possible to have the exact number of students on every run. Bus capacity is designed for three (3) students per seat.
18. How far can a bus stop be from the student’s home?
Bus stops may be up to 1.5 miles from the student's home. All stops in the Mars Area School District are less than 1.5 miles from students' homes.
19. My child has daycare on Tuesday and Thursday and comes home on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Can the District accommodate this alternate transportation schedule?
Students are assigned only one pick-up and one drop-off location Monday through Friday. Consistency in bus stop locations reduces the risk of misplacing a child and confusion on the child's part regarding which bus to ride. The District will not alter transportation to allow students a different pick-up or drop-off location on separate days of the week or different weeks of the year.
20. Can my child ride another bus home to a friend or relative’s house?
Students are NOT permitted to ride home on buses that are not their assigned buses. Emergency exceptions will be permitted as determined by building principals.
21. Can my child eat food or have food on the school buses?
No. Eating food and open food containers are not permitted on school buses at any time, as some students suffer from severe allergies to certain foods. Packed lunches/meals must remain unopened in a student's bag or backpack while they are on the bus. Students who violate this restriction will be subject to disciplinary action.
22. I want to send my child to a private school. Where can I send them and have bussing service?
The school you select must be a not-for-profit school located within ten (10) miles from the closest District border by main thoroughfare. Be aware that your child may experience a long ride depending upon how far and how many other students within the District are going to that school.
23. Will my child’s bus pick-up/drop-off times remain the same each school year?
Mars Area School District is a growing community. To accommodate this growth as well as new students who require transportation, school bus routes and pick-up/drop-off times change from school year to school year. Bus routes are reviewed every summer prior to the start of each new school year. Depending upon the location and the transportation needs of the District, a student’s pick-up/drop-off time may change once every few years or annually.
The District provides bussing information at the start of every year. Parents are asked to review the information and submit any requests for changes to the Transportation Office. The District will make every effort to accommodate bussing requests; however, parents are reminded that school bus routes and pick-up/drop-off times are designed to accommodate all of the students riding each school bus.
24. My child’s bus route did not change. Why is his/her route longer this year?
Along with the growth of Mars Area School District and its surrounding communities, traffic congestion has also increased in all corners of the District. While some school buses may use the same routes from year to year, traffic congestion can have a significant impact on school bus times in both the morning and afternoon hours. The District makes every effort to quickly and safely transport students to and from school.