line of school buses

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


    • How does my child get a bus pass?
      • Westminster Public Schools Transportation Services issues ZPass bus cards to eligible students. This new program went into effect in September 2016. To learn more about the Z-Pass program click here. For eligibility parameters, refer to Board Policy EEAA.
    • Where is the lost and found for the buses?
      • Bus drivers collect student belongings that have been left on their bus. The driver usually keeps clothing and small articles on the bus near the driver compartment for several weeks before bringing them into the terminal. Large and other certain items (band instruments, large back packs, cell phones, etc.) are brought into the terminal office for safe keeping when they are found.
      • Have your student ask the driver about items left on the bus. Alternatively, you may call the terminal at 303-427-1977 during the hours of 5:15 a.m. – 5 p.m. The office staff will contact the driver to try to locate the item immediately. If the article is located, it will be brought into the terminal office for you to pick up.
    • Is bus transportation provided for preschool and kindergarten students? What about half day students?
      • WPS does not offer bus service for preschoolers, except for special needs students with IEP's that designate transportation as a related service. If an all day kindergarten student is attending their school of attendance and living outside the one mile area, then bus service is offered. However, for part time kindergarten students there is no mid-day bus service. This means that morning kindergartners can ride the bus to school but not home. For afternoon kindergartners it is the opposite, there is no bus service to school but they can ride home.
    • What are the walking distances for elementary, middle and high school students? If a student encounters safety hazards when walking to school (such as walking on roadways, crossing roadways, crossing railroad tracks), how is that addressed?
      • Per Board Policy EEAA, the district will provide transportation to all elementary school pupils who live beyond one mile from their assigned school, and to middle and high school pupils who live beyond one and one-half miles from their assigned school. Transportation shall be furnished for shorter distances, if, as determined by the Superintendent of Schools, extreme hardship and dangerous conditions prevail. Any clarification and/or variance to this policy is the responsibility of the superintendent or that person's designee.
      • Students with special needs are evaluated through their Individual Education Plan, or IEP. Transportation is determined by the Transportation Department and Student Services, after the completion of the IEP. Requests for transportation, or changes to existing services, are considered only after the terminal has received the IEP form from the appropriate special needs coordinator. Principals, teachers and/or parents should contact their School coordinator, not the transportation terminal, to initiate transportation or request changes to existing transportation.
    • Do students who are "choice" enrolled in a school other than their neighborhood school receive transportation?
      • As per Board Policy JFBA-R (Intra-District Transfer and Choice Procedure), students requesting and receiving approval to attend school outside of the attendance area in which they reside shall be required to provide their own transportation, except in the case of special education IEP. Staffing Team student transfers.
      • Transportation Services is offering a ridership program for this service out of all middle school locations.
    • I'd like to know more information about the ridership program offered to all middle and high school locations. Which students are eligible and how can my student apply for the program?
      • Space is available on the bus as determined by the Transportation manager and dispatcher who is in charge of scheduling for the schools. After availability has been determined students will be permitted to complete a ridership contract which will be on hand at student registration and/or at the transportation office. Awarded ridership contracts will be first come first serve until a safe capacity has been reached for the bus route in question. (If the number of eligible assigned students increases anytime during the school year, students who are on a ridership contract may lose their seat to be able to accommodate eligible riders. No student will be denied a ride to or from school, or left at a stop or school, without previous notice that they have been displaced from a bus.)
      • A signed ridership contract for the student is on file with the bus driver and the Transportation office.
      • There are no incidents of misconduct by the student who is on the ridership contract. Any occurrence of misbehavior will warrant that the ridership contract student is denied the privilege to ride any WPS bus to and from school.
      • The parent/guardian accepts all responsibility of getting a contracted rider to and from the established stop in both the a.m. and the p.m. or is accepting and knowledgeable of their student's walk path to and from any bus stop(s). Parents are strongly cautioned that the school district is not responsible for a contracted rider's walk path, walking distance, and/or the crossing of any street at any intersection.
      • Contracted riders may not board or depart from any special needs stop.
      • The ridership program is intended to offer transportation to students who live near a bus stop location but reside within the walk distance of their home school and/or students that have choice enrolled into the school for the bus stop closest to their home. If there is space available on the route closest to their home the following criteria must be met:
      • The neighborhood near mine has a bus stop; however my student is not eligible to ride a bus because we live within the walking boundaries of our school. Can my student walk into that adjacent neighborhood, or to a regular bus stop near us, and ride the bus?
      • Please see ridership program information above.
    • My student needs to ride to/from school with a student who is on a different bus route, is this allowed?
      • Yes, with a written note signed by the students parent/guardian and a school staff member. These signatures are to represent that the student has permission from their parent/guardian.
    • Does Westminster Public School buses have seat belts? Are school buses safe?
      • School bus transportation is the safest mode of ground transportation in the United States. It is 172 times safer to be in a school bus than it is in a private vehicle. The issue of seat belts on school buses is an important question for parents and riders. Below is a brief summary of WPS guidelines regarding seat belts on its school buses.
      • The majority of WPS buses do not have seat belts. Providing school buses with seat belts is not federally mandated. Buses meet or exceed the standards for protecting riders in the event of an accident. School buses use compartment structuring in the passenger area, which includes very high seat backs and extra thick padding. This construction results in less injury since the whole body would move forward into the padded seat back.
      • Neck and head injuries may occur if the students were using a lap belt in a school bus since the seats on a bus are closer than a conventional car and an upper shoulder strap anchoring belt system is not practical. Additionally, in the event of another vehicle impacting the side of a school bus, the floor of a bus sits much higher than most vehicles. This reduces the chance of injury to the passengers.
      • School buses sustain little damage when a collision occurs, due to stringent rack-n-load and body frame strength requirements, statistically making the vehicle very safe. School bus driver requirements and on-going training contributes to the safe reputation of our school bus drivers. Drivers are required to be physically fit, maintain special licenses including federally mandated endorsements, and have yearly state requirements to adhere to.
    • How can I help ensure that my child will not miss the school bus? How long will my child have to wait in inclement weather? How soon should my child be at the bus stop?
      • Have your child arrive at the bus stop five (5) minutes before their scheduled pick up time and be waiting, outside, in plain view of the driver. The driver will not leave the stop until the scheduled pick up time; however, the driver cannot wait for late riders. Drivers or bus assistants are not allowed to go up to a house or honk the bus horn. 
      • Prepare your child for longer waits in inclement weather with suitable clothing for a possible longer wait. All stops will be serviced in stormy weather. Your child returning home after waiting only a few minutes past the pickup time, will usually result in him/her just missing a late running bus. 
      • Have a contingency plan. WPS buses and their drivers are quite reliable; however there may be conditions beyond their control which may cause a late bus. Parents should have a contingency plan in the case that a bus is running late or breaks down before reaching their students' stop. If you have left for work, the child needs to be able to get back into their home and be able to call you and/or the school. Have a neighbor, or reliable student buddy at the same stop, for your child to go back home with. Have an alternative safe refuge, or home where they can go in case that you are not home and instruct them to call you or the school in case the bus was late, or broken down.
    • What are the consequences for my student not behaving on the school bus?
      • A verbal warning from transportation staff. If behavior is corrected, no further action will be taken.
      • If the behavior is not corrected by student, a written report will be completed and the parent will be called to be informed of the misconduct. The student may be assigned a seat.
      • Further written reports for same student will result in loss of bus services.
        • The second time a student's parent is called the student may receive 1-3 days for the first suspension.
        • If further contact is needed to a student's parent concerning bus behavior, the student may receive a 3-5 day suspension, up to a full suspension for the remainder of the school year for second offense.
      • Students and parents are issued a copy of the School Bus Code of Conduct by each school. Inappropriate behavior, which would be not following the student code of conduct, may result in suspension of bus privileges. The disciplinary action includes a progressive series of consequences, depending on the severity of the inappropriate behavior. Usual steps may include:
        • The severity of consequences is determined by the bus driver and the Transportation manager using the Transportation matrix.
        • The driver's observance of a student's misbehavior is sufficient evidence in determining corrective action.
        • Video/audio surveillance cameras are also available for monitoring students on any bus.
    • I want to make sure my children are safe; what are the requirements/qualifications of a school bus driver?  
      • WPS bus drivers have a high school diploma or equivalent, are required to pass a criminal background check with fingerprints, pass a DOT physical, maintain a commercial driver's license including federally mandated endorsements, and have yearly state requirements to adhere to. Transportation staff also maintain a current first aid card. Trainees receive 40 to 60 hours of one to one training along with the continuous in-service trainings with veteran staff throughout the year. 
    • What happens when a bus breaks down or is in an accident? 
      • When a breakdown occurs on route, the driver radios into dispatch for assistance and are placement bus and mechanic is dispatched to the location. Students are then transferred to the second bus and they continue on route. If an accident were to occur while on route, the driver radios into dispatch with the information and the proper emergency and department personnel are dispatched to the location. Parents and schools are notified. 
      • For the safety of students, staff and community members, WPS students will only be released at a school location and/or designated route stop locations. In certain circumstances, emergency personal may be able to release students to individuals who are listed on student record and have a valid ID only.