- How do I register my child for bus transportation?
A. Initially, you must enroll your child at a school. If you relocate/move but still live within the boundary of the school’s zone, you must supply the school with the new address. Be sure to also provide the school with other information that has changed for your child.
- Why is it important to change a student’s address at the school?
A. The student’s school is the primary record keeper for all student information, including the address that a student leaves from in the morning to ride the bus. The school conveys your child’s address to the Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT), which in turn assigns a bus stop location, bus number, and approximate pick-up time. Therefore, any information that has changed for the student must be changed at the school.
- How can my child qualify for bus transportation services?
A. To qualify for bus transportation, the student’s residence must be within the attendance area of the school (or “school zone”) and outside of the walking area for that school. Parents must provide the school with a clear map of the location of the residence.
- How is a bus stop designated?
A. Bus stops are established based on several factors, which include walking conditions, walking distance to the bus stop and road accessibility. Given acceptable walking conditions, bus stops are, at a minimum, ¼ mile apart, without jeopardizing student safety. Schools are required to timely notify parents and students about additional stops before OPT implements any revised route.
- Why do students have to walk to a bus stop when the bus drives past the house?
A. In areas where walk conditions are acceptable, students are required to be picked up at centralized stops. Two students can be loaded at one stop faster and at less cost than the bus stopping at two separate stops. In addition, every stop yields 5-7 minutes of bus immobility which in turn lengthens travel time. OPT encourages parent supervision at the bus stop.
- My child’s bus is overcrowded. Can some children be placed on another bus?
A. Contact the Program Manager of the Office of Pupil Transportation. A bus that has three elementary students to a seat or two middle or high school students to a seat may be crowded. However, it will not be over capacity. The goal of PSS-OPT is to fully utilize all of the space on all buses in our fleet.
- Who should I call if I don’t like the location of a bus stop?
A. You can contact OPT and the placement of the stop will be reviewed. A designated bus stop will not always seem ideal to everyone assigned to it. There are numerous issues to be considered in relocating a stop, and we may not be successful in meeting everyone’s expectations. Some students will have to walk to a bus stop. In some cases, the stop may not be in direct line of sight from your residence and for this reason, OPT again encourages parental supervision at the bus stop.
- Whom do I contact when there is a problem at the bus stop?
A. The CNMI Public School System is not responsible for student behavior at the bus stop. Our responsibility begins when students board the bus and ends when they exit the bus. If there is a problem at the bus stop that cannot be resolved among the students and families, contact the Department of Public Safety.
- My child needs to ride home on a different bus or be dropped off at an alternate location for one day. What do I need to do?
A. If your child on occasion will be riding home on a bus other than the one to which s/he is assigned (i.e., riding home with a friend or to an alternate stop), before boarding the bus the student MUST give the bus driver a signed note from the parents/guardians of all students concerned AND written administrator approval from the school.
- My child is having a problem with the bus driver. Should I go to the bus stop to talk with the driver?
A. No. Going to the bus stop places everyone in a defensive position and can lead to a confrontation, which is inappropriate for students to witness. Drivers are trained to avoid confrontations to the point of closing the door and driving away. Federal law prohibits blocking the doorway or interfering with the operation of the bus. If you have a concern with something that happens on the bus, please contact the administrator of your child’s school. After gathering the necessary information, he or she will pursue the matter with the appropriate Transportation Department manager, who will in turn work with you to resolve it.
- My child left an item (i.e., rain coat, glasses, cellular phone, books, etc.) on the bus. How does s/he get it back?
A. Drivers check their buses after each run and they usually keep left-behind items on the bus for week for students to claim. Items found in the bus are also immediately reported to OPT’s dispatcher and the schools. If not claimed within a week, the items are turned in to OPT or the school which the bus is assigned. You may help by labeling your child’s belongings with the child’s name and school. Please check with the driver first for any lost items. If they no longer have the item, contact your child’s school or OPT directly for assistance. NOTE: Drivers are required to remind students to check around their seats for any personal belongings before getting off the bus. To report any missing items to OPT, contact the Bus Supervisor or Program Manager at the Office of Pupil Transportation.
- Why did the driver not stop at the bus stop when my child was running late, or not wait for my child to get to the bus stop?
A. OPT makes a concerted effort to be consistent on the time we start the route. After the first stop, many things can affect time at subsequent stops, so even the most conscientious driver will vary by a few minutes. To allow for those variances, students are told to be at the bus stop at least five minutes prior to normal arrival and to be waiting where they are visible to the driver as the bus approaches the stop. Drivers are required to activate their yellow lights a minimum of 100 feet prior to stopping and turning on their red lights. If drivers do not see any student present, they are not required to stop. They are also not required to wait for tardy students. Usually, drivers will not leave students if they are close to the stop and making an effort to get there as quickly as they can. The loading and unloading process is the most dangerous part of the bus ride and students are safest when they are at the stop before the bus arrives, not running for it after it shows up.
- The bus did not show up on time for my child. How long should s/he wait at the bus stop?
A. Wait 15 minutes AFTER the scheduled pick-up time, and then contact the Office of Pupil Transportation.
- What are the procedures for suspending a student’s riding privilege?
A. The following is a general description for transportation procedures. Drivers and Team Leaders will manage this process [Subsection IV. A.1.c.]
– First Incident. Warning
– Second Incident. Parental Conference
– Third Incident. Busing service suspended.
NOTE: Immediate loss of transportation privileges may occur depending on the severity of the violation (including but not limited to: weapons, drugs, physical violence, vandalism, actions that may adversely impact the safety of others, etc.) [Subsection IV. A.1.c.]
- How do we find out about an inclement weather delay, early dismissal, or cancellation of school?
A. For morning delays or school closures, OPT makes its recommendation to the Commissioner of Education (COE), through the Associate Commissioner of Administrative Services, by 5AM and communicate the information to local media outlets by 530AM. For early dismissals, decisions are made by the COE and whenever possible by 10AM, and the media outlets are subsequently informed. Although PSS makes every effort to notify the media promptly, we have no control over the speed and accuracy with which media outlets announce the news.