Bus Rules Defined
Bus rules defined
To assist in eliminating confusion regarding bus rules for school-sponsored trips and regular routes, the following information is provided.
Riders are EXPECTED to assist district staff in ensuring buses and other district vehicles remain in good condition and that transportation is safely provided. When riding in district vehicles, including buses, students are held to behavioral standards published in the Student Code of Conduct, on the right-hand side of the page under "Important Links/Documents". Riders MUST:
- Follow the driver's directions at all times. Drivers operate their route bus on a schedule in the mornings and try to get their riders home safely, as soon as possible in the afternoon. By following the driver directions, the riders will be transported as safely and quickly as possible. Our goal is to get riders to school or to home within 45 minutes of the time they board the bus. Not all routes will achieve this goal, but the majority of riders only ride 20-25 minutes, either way.
- Enter and leave the vehicle in an orderly manner. Pushing or shoving riders can result in disastrous consequences. While seat bottoms and backs are padded with foam rubber inserts, the frame at the floor level are simply metal tubes. Falling into the aisle could result in someone hitting their head or face on the metal tubes. Riders should enter the vehicle and go to their seat as quickly as possible. When exiting, riders should wait for those in front of them to start to exit before attempting to move through the aisle. Common courtesy goes a long way in making this a safe practice.
- Keep feet, books, instrument cases, and other objects out of the aisle. The aisle must be kept clear so the driver can use their inside mirror to see out the emergency exit in the back of the bus. Additionally, instrument cases, book bags, etc. need to be transported in the passenger lap or under the seat. Large objects (tubas, drums, mascot costume containers, etc.) which cannot fit through the front service door, or on a passenger lap or under a seat, are prohibited. Riders are authorized one seat, so packages, backpacks, cases, etc. must either be held in the passengers lap or fit under their seat.
- Keep head, hands, arms and legs inside the vehicle. Bus windows do not have padded frames and the latches are delicate. When someone puts their head, hand, arm or a leg out the window, the square edge of the window and frame may cause injury. If someone leans out the window, they put pressure on the lower pane, causing the window to become bent and not close correctly. The latches are made of plastic and the dry atmosphere of Grape Creek has a tendency to make the latches brittle. When they break, the window may not operate properly presenting a safety issue in the event of an emergency.
- Do not throw objects inside or out of the vehicle. Throwing objects as simple as a paper wad could hit another rider in the eye or cause them to make an abrupt movement to avoid being hit, and end up banging their head or body part on a solid object in the bus. Throwing objects out of the vehicle is simply littering.
- Observe all USUAL classroom rules. Riders wouldn't stand up in class and yell across the room. Everyone (including the driver) will look when a loud noise is made. If this is the driver going down the road, nobody is looking out the front window to avoid hazards. Additionally, riders do not change seats simply because someone they were sitting next to got up to leave.
- Remain in assigned seat while bus is in motion. We assign seats for two specific purposes: 1) To put capable riders in a position to assist the bus driver should there be an emergency need to evacuate the bus; and 2) to identify those riders when damage or vandalism occurs. We all need to ensure the safety of all passengers on the bus, and we all need be good stewards of the district vehicles and eliminate damages. Moving while the bus is in motion can be dangerous if the bus makes an emergency maneuver to avoid a hazard. The seat frames are metal tubing and someone falling in the aisle or out of the side of a seat could be seriously injured.
- Wear seatbelts, if available. Not all buses have seatbelts, and the State of Texas is looking into passing a law to have mandatory seat belts installed in all new buses. However, the current law concerning seatbelts is very clear, CLICK IT OR TICKET!
- ALWAYS cross in front of the bus. Because of the size and design of a bus, drivers have difficulty seeing anything directly behind or adjacent to the bus. This is an area commonly referred to as the "Danger zone" and extends 15 feet to both sides, the front, and 200 feet to the rear of the bus. The driver has seven mirrors to help with seeing the sides and rear of the bus, but none provide a complete view. The driver can see MORE clearly out the front of the bus and would know if a rider dropped something under the bus and went to retrieve it. We don't want to have anyone injured or killed because the driver didn't see them.
- Wait for the driver signal before crossing any roadway. Riders become pedestrians when they attempt to cross the road, and don't have the steel shell of a vehicle to protect them. On 27 April 2016, on only one specific day in Texas, 2,726 school bus drivers reported 2,926 instances of a vehicle illegally passing a school bus with the red lights active and the stop sign deployed during a national survey. Grape Creek ISD drivers see an average of one "stop arm violation" every four to five days on our 13 routes. Under the current legal system in the State of Texas, in Tom Green County a law enforcement officer must observe the violation first-hand before the violating driver can be issued a citation. Pedestrians become complacent when crossing with all the red lights active and may not look both ways. This applies to both getting on and getting off the bus.
- Remain 15 feet from where the bus stops. Since many can't estimate 15 feet, have the younger riders stay 5 "GIANT" steps from where the bus stops. While we need riders to be ready to board the bus at the curb or street side to maintain our schedule, we need to ensure nobody gets injured by vehicles which may be passing before the bus. Also, everyone needs to stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop, the driver opens the door and motions the rider toward the door. By moving towards a moving bus, a pedestrian could trip and fall under the wheels of the bus.
- If a rider does not ride the bus for three consecutive days (morning and afternoon) without prior notification, the transportation department will notify the campus the rider attends and the campus will attempt contact with the rider's parent/guardian to determine why the rider has not been riding. Realizing some things cannot be planned until the last minute, if a rider normally rides a morning route but will not for some reason, transportation requests the parent/guardian call (325) 655-1735 extension 6000 and let us know. Someone is usually available to answer phone calls between 5:00 and 6:30 a.m. If the rider normally rides in the afternoon, but won't be riding for a period of three consecutive days, contact the campus the rider attends and let them know. In turn, they will contact transportation and let us know so we may make any necessary adjustments to the route.
While there are a number of other actions that could result in a violation of the rules, listing them here would be too much task. The best way to determine whether an action will violate the rules is to consider someone taking that action against you, or what would YOUR parent/guardian think if you carried out the action. Everyone knows the difference from right and wrong, and if you aren't sure whether it's right or wrong, don't do it. Few have ever gotten in trouble for NOT doing something which MAY be a violation.
Punishment for violations is meted out by the campus administrators and not the transportation department. Misconduct will be punished in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct, available here on the right-hand side of the page under "Important Links/Documents"; the privilege to ride in a district vehicle, including a school bus, may be suspended or revoked.
As not all students ride the bus, the majority of, if not all students will participate from time to time in school-sponsored trips required to use transportation provided by the school to and from the event. We want all riders to remain safe and sometimes not knowing the rules creates unsafe situations. The rules outlined for regular routes (above) are meant to allow for a safe trip, no matter whether it's to school or home, or to a school-sponsored activity out of town.
The district makes school bus transportation available to all households with students living two or more miles from the school on public streets and roads. Private roads will be used if they are in sufficient shape to safely support and allow maneuvering of a large bus, and if there is written permission provided to the school from the occupants of the houses along those roads. This service is provided at NO COST, same as public streets.
Bus routes and stops are designated annually. Any subsequent changes will be posted at school and on the district website. Additionally, the school maintains social media pages and any change or delay in route operations is usually posted on these social media pages as soon as possible, to facilitate the widest dissemination of information. For the safety of the school bus operator and all passengers, riders must load and unload buses or other school operated vehicles only at authorized stops.
An authorized parent/guardian may also designate a child-care facility or grandparent residence as the regula pick up/drop off location for their rider, as long as the location meets the two-mile restriction and is within the district (no transfers). The designated facililty or residence MUST be on a regular route and be an approved stop. To make these type changes, authorized parent/guardian need contact the campus which the rider attends and let the administrators at that campus know the parent/guardian wishes to make the change. The campus administrators will contact transportation with the authorization and transportation will contact the authorized parent/guardian with the approximate times and locations of pick up/drop off.
We hope this helps in understanding the bus rules.