Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions about School Bus Transportation
The bus didn’t show up on time for my child. How long should he/she wait at the stop?
Your child should arrive at the stop at least five minutes before the regular arrival time of the bus. If the bus is late, ask your child to remain at the stop. Buses break down, roads are blocked, drivers become ill or have emergencies, but there will always be a bus at every stop. If the wait becomes extreme (approximately 10 minutes), please call the transportation office at 918 299-1549.
My child’s bus is overcrowded. Can some children be placed on another bus?
Passenger capacity for elementary/intermediate school buses is three students per seat. Middle school students are assumed to ride two-three per seat. High school students are assumed to ride two per seat. The bus may seem crowded but is not over capacity and is still safe. It is our goal to fully utilize all the space on all the buses in our fleet.
Why are buses sometimes late?
School bus drivers can have the same reasons as motorists for being late. Traffic delays, weather conditions, accidents or driver’s illness are just a few reasons. School buses also have mechanical breakdowns of “no starts” that cause delays in picking students up on time. A school bus may be able to run but have a red traffic light malfunction which would make it unsafe to pick up or discharge students on our highways, before it is repaired. In cases where the regularly assigned bus of driver is unable to pick up students, a separate bus and driver are dispatched to pick up the students. Generally, when a bus starts out late on its first or second run, it continues to be late for its third run also.
I can’t see my child’s bus stop from my house. How can I get the bus stop moved closer?
Bus stops are placed at centralized locations that can be safely accessed by a significant number of students to minimize the time length and mileage of the run. If you have concerns about your child’s safety you are encouraged to accompany your child to the bus stop or arrange a neighborhood buddy to walk with your child. Elementary children may be required to walk up to ½ mile to a bus stop. Secondary students may be required to walk up to one mile to a bus stop. However, bus stops are typically designed to be within three-tenths of a mile from the residence.
Why can’t all high schools, middle schools, intermediate schools and elementary schools start at the same time for each group?
In order to maximize the use of our school bus fleet and to provide a more efficient operation with as few buses as possible, schools are put into one of three distinctly different time schedules. That enables one bus to serve two to three different schools within 2 ½ hours in the morning and afternoon. Intermediates schools are first in time schedule, elementary schools are second and high school/middle school are third on the time schedule.
Jenks Public Schools time schedules are:
Intermediate Schools (5th – 6th grade) – 7:45 a.m. – 2:25 p.m.
Elementary Schools (Kindergarten – 4th grade) – 8:30 a.m. – 3:10 p.m.
High Schools (9th – 12th grade) – 9:15 a.m. – 3:55 p.m.
Middle Schools (7th – 8th grade) – 9:15 a.m. – 3:55 p.m.
I see buses all the time with only a few children on them. What are they doing?
Buses make two to three runs into and out of schools each day. On the majority of these runs, Jenks buses achieve a load factor of more than 75%. However, we have many special programs (vocational programs, alternative programs) that require that students be transported considerable distances. When transporting students to these special programs, the time length of the run sometimes makes it impossible to fully utilize the capacity of the bus. Often, however, as the bus travels within the school’s attendance boundary it will stop and pick up additional students.
Examples of these special programs would be:
Alternative programs, vocational programs, parking shuttle, and other programs with limited enrollment and central location result in light loads.
Special Needs Programs – Special need runs tend to be light loaded due to the small number of children assigned to centers and the boundaries can be citywide.
Another reason is school boundaries. Some school boundaries cover wide land areas that extend bus runs in miles and time resulting in less than capacity loads.
We live very far from the school and there is no bus stop near for my child. How do I arrange transportation?
Jenks Public Schools policy provides for transportation for all elementary students living in excess of one mile from school and for all secondary students living in excess of one and a half miles from school. Regardless of the distance, transportation will be provided if there is no safe walking route. School bus stops are designed to be within half a mile for elementary and one mile for secondary from the residence.
I drove it in my car and we live more than that distance from school.
Supervisors measure all distances with a walking wheel over the shortest safe route between the property line of the home and property line of the school. Car odometers are not accurate enough to precisely measure the distance.
But the walking route to the bus stop is not safe. To whom should I speak about that?
Transportation staff familiar with the area and the traffic patterns, evaluate the walking routes in consultation with the Traffic Engineering Department and the Jenks/Tulsa Police Departments. If you believe an unsafe situation exists, address your concerns to the school principal or the Director of Transportation at (918) 299-1549. If a further evaluation is required the school system safety officer is consulted.
My child is a special education student. To whom should I speak concerning his/her transportation?
Initial transportation for special needs children is established by an IEP team. Please discuss these programs with your child’s school. If you have transportation questions after acceptance into the special needs program, call the transportation department at (918) 299-1549.
My child left an item on the bus. How can I retrieve it?
Drivers check their buses after every run. Items left by students are held by the driver for several days and may be claimed on the bus by the child. Fragile items are often taken out the buses in the evening for their protection, but will be available the next morning. After several days the driver will make an effort to locate the owner. Unclaimed and unlabeled items are donated to charity. You can help by labeling all of your child’s school belongings. Please know the number of your child’s bus, when inquiring about lost articles.
What are the different types of school buses?
Jenks Public Schools use conventional style school buses, Trojan Pride activity buses and smaller special needs buses. The 73 passenger conventional style school bus is traditional style with the long forward hood, the 78 passenger conventional style school bus is traditional style with the flat square front, The 14 -80 Passenger Trojan Pride activity buses, and the 8 – 30 passenger smaller special needs buses.
Several of our buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts. A single wheelchair position requires the same space as two or three bench seats. Therefore, a lift-equipped bus will carry far fewer passengers than its nominal size might indicate.
All buses are diesel-powered, equipped with two-way radios and have audio and video capability.
Why are school bus seats spaced so closely together?
The basic purpose in spacing school bus seats so closely is to contain the child in a cushioned compartment with only a minimum amount of space between energy-absorbing surfaces.
After extensive research during the 1970’s, the Department of Transportation and its agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that the safest and most practical arrangement for school bus seating would be a “compartmentalization” concept. Accordingly, the new safety regulations established in 1977 included this requirement among many other improvements made that year. Under the compartmentalization concept, seat backs in school buses are made higher, wider and thicker than before. All metal surfaces are covered with foam padding. This structure must then pass rigid test requirements for absorbing energy, such as would be required if a child’s body were thrown against the padded back. In addition, the equivalent of a seat back, called a “barrier”, is placed in front of the first seat at the front of the bus.
In addition to padding, today’s seats also must have a steel inner structure that springs and bends forward to help absorb energy when a child is thrown against it. The steel frame must “give” just enough to absorb the child in the seat ahead. Also, of course, the seat is required to be anchored to the floor so strongly it will not pull loose during this bending action. The floor itself must be so strong that it will not be bent or torn by the pulling action of the seat anchors.
Finally, the requirement was added that seat backs can be no farther apart than a distance that is deemed safe. Clearly, if the backs were too far apart, the child could be thrown too far before being cushioned and/or could be thrown outside the compartment altogether. Today’s rules call for a seat back to be no farther than 24” away from a defined point in the middle of a child’s abdomen (the seat reference point).
Why are 39” seats in school buses rate for three children when they only will accommodate two?
The rated capacity of a 39” width passenger seat was devised many years ago by the committee then making recommendations to the National Minimum Standards for School Buses. In determining seating capacity of a bus, an allowable average bottom width standard was established.
Accordingly, 13” of bottom width was suggested when a 3 – 3 seating plan was used. This suggested guideline is still recognized by most states as the accepted approach. It is not a federally mandated requirement.
Do state regulations for school buses supersede federal requirements?
No. State laws do not supersede federal requirements. State regulations for school buses can and usually do add requirements for safety. These requirements are additional to the federal requirements.
Why aren’t buses always available for field trips?
The first priority is to provide transportation to and from school. The school bus fleet does not contain a separate set of buses designated for field trip use. Therefore, whenever school buses are not in use for normal to and from school transportation, they are available for field trip use. For planning purposes, school buses are available on school days from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and again after 5:00 p.m. Occasionally, in the spring, the demand for field trips can outnumber the drivers and buses available. Transportation staff and requesters of field trips discuss individual circumstances.
How can I arrange to have my child ride a different bus home from school for one day?
You must contact the Transportation office for prior approval. If approved, the Office will provide written authorization to the driver of that bus. Use this service only in the event of an emergency only as defined in the student handbook.