Emergency Notice

Registration for transportation is open!

Please visit the Transportation website to learn more: https://www.gsacrd.ab.ca/transportation

Frequently Asked Questions

What does “designated school” mean?

A designated school is one in which the Board has directed the student to attend; based on where they live (school attendance boundary) or by a program they are enrolled in. All students within the Division boundaries are designated to a school.

What are Provincial Regulations regarding walk distances for students?

The School Transportation Regulation Section 3 AR 96/2019 states the following: In providing for the transportation of a student under section59(1) of the Act, the transportation must be provided on a route that is not more than 2.4 kilometres from the residence of the student. 

Who is eligible to ride the bus?

Alberta Education defines eligible students for transportation funding as those residing greater than 1km in grades K-6 and 1.6 Km grades 7-12 from their designated school. The Division may provide transportation to students who require special programming, or those who reside outside the walk boundary for the school. If you live outside of the Division boundaries please contact transportation to discuss if you may be able to meet a bus within the Division to access transportation if space and time allow.

After I have applied for transportation how long will it take before my child ride the bus?

After your child is registered at the school and is in the student information software
(PowerSchool), the transportation department requires 3 to 5 school days from the date the registration is received in the transportation office before your child will be permitted to ride the bus. This time is needed to ensure that the driver has your child’s information to ensure the safety of your child. To avoid any delay in service, it is recommended that you contact the transportation department prior to the date your child requires transportation to ensure your application has been received and processed.

How are bus stops determined?

School bus routes are developed annually based on registrations received by June 1st prior to the start of a school year. Student pickup and drop-off locations and timing may change from year to year based on registrants and geographical distribution. School bus routes are developed to allow the most efficient and equitable route through neighborhood streets or rural areas. This reduces ride time and allows trips to run in combination with the trips serving other schools.

Every additional stop impacts the length of time students are on the bus and the number of buses required to provide transportation service. Students are expected to cross neighborhood streets and walk within guideline distances to and from the school bus stop. Rural students may be expected to walk to and from the entrance of a rural subdivision to the main road. In the City of St. Albert buses will be routed to city transit stops whenever possible. These stops have been reviewed and approved to be a safe location for a bus to stop and load/unload a bus.

What are the walk guidelines?

Walking distance for eligible riders to a bus stop:  
Elementary 400 metres
Junior High 600 metres
High School 800 metres

*These distances are guidelines and may not always be met.
*Rural gate service is provided to those living outside of rural subdivisions in the county.
*Division routing software measurements are used to determine distances and will be the defining measurement.

My family lives within the Walk Boundary of their designated school can my child ride the bus?

Walk boundaries around an Elementary school is 1km and for Jr. /Sr. High the walk boundary is 1.6 km. Your child may still be able to ride the bus by meeting a stop already on the route outside of the walk boundary to the school. A fee will apply.

Why can’t the bus stop at my house, it drives right by?

School bus transportation is not intended to be a door-to-door service. Student transportation must be diligent in keeping ride times to a minimum and therefore cannot stop at each student’s house. The transportation department takes into consideration the age of children, the proximity of stops, and the accessibility of roadways. To create efficiencies, walk distances are utilized in planning bus routes and bus stops.

Why does my child have to cross a busy road to access the stop location?

School bus stops are established based on the most current information available when the route is planned and are usually designed to serve multiple students residing near the stop. Yellow bus service ride times can be longer due to geography. Minimizing student ride timesis a high priority and therefore the necessity to maintain routes along collector/ main roads(which are often busy) is a necessary practice. We realize that in order to accessthe yellow busservice roads will have to be crossed and that an escort for the children is prudent. Student Transportation encourages and promotes the practice of all students being escorted to and from the stop locations by a parent or guardian.

What time should my child be at the bus stop?

Please ensure your child is at the bus stop 5 minutes before the stop time recorded on your child’s bus parent portal. This will ensure your child does not miss the bus, which will depart at the time within your Parent Portal.

Why can’t the bus come into my sub-division?

The length of the bus is one thing that limits school buses' maneuverability in cul-de-sacs, crescents, closes and other tight places. School buses come in various sizes ranging from 25 to 36 feet long, 20,000 – 26,000 pounds, 12 – 13 feet high and 6-9 feet wide. Smaller buses can turn in a shorter radius, while longer buses cannot maneuver the same circle without backing the bus, which is avoided in bus routing where possible. In the winter months, buses risk becoming stuck, resulting in longer bus rides or delays in arriving at the school or home. Bus routes are planned for the entire school year; therefore, winter conditions are considered during the route planning phase.

Whenever possible, the Division will remain on main roadways and not enter subdivisions without the subdivision roadway having the ability to enter and exit without the need to utilize a cul de sac to turn around to exit.

Routes are designed for safety and efficiency for the route as a whole. An exception MAY be made to enter a RURAL subdivision if your child meets the walk guidelines when the speed limit is greater than 50 Km per hour and 1 of the following scenarios is present:

1. If the entrance to the subdivision is located within 300 meters of a sharp curve, the visibility of traffic approaching the bus from the rear will be reduced. This does not include street corners or intersections where speeds are automatically reduced to complete a turn from one roadway to another.

2. If a student is required to cross the roadway to access their bus stop opposite the rural subdivision entrance and is located within 300 meters of a sharp curve reducing the visibility of oncoming traffic from either direction, this does not include street corners/intersections where vehicle speeds are naturally reduced to complete a turn from one roadway to another. These exceptions allow for adequate time for traffic to stop when the Red lights and stop arm are deployed.

Can I approach the driver to have a discussion at the door of the bus?

The bus driver's primary role is to ensure students' safety while loading and unloading students and driving the bus; therefore, you should not approach the driver to discuss to ensure the driver is not distracted while loading and unloading students. Please get in touch with the Division Transportation Department for any requests or discussions regarding your child’s route or any other concerns. The Transportation Department will contact the appropriate contractor to provide them with any necessary information.

Who is responsible for my child before they load and after they unload from the bus?

Parents are responsible for their child’s safety to, from, and while the student waits for the bus at their designated stop. Bus drivers may not permit students to unload at another stop. The school bus shall wait until the specified stop time before departing the stop location.

Why can’t my child get off the bus wherever they want to in the afternoon?

To avoid multiple problems, the driver is not authorized to transport students other than those registered and possess a valid bus pass to ride that particular route. This allows the driver to focus on driving and safety instead of deciding whether a student should be allowed to change their routine and get off with a friend or without the parent’s knowledge or permission. Students are only allowed to disembark at their scheduled stop location.

Can my child use the bus to transport to a job or after-school activity?

Division transportation is only available to families to transport their children from home to school and back home at the end of the day. Transportation cannot be used to access after-school or extracurricular activities or work access.

My child attends a day home or sitter can you stop the bus in front of the sitter/day home?

Bus stop locations for a sitter or day home location are located within the same walk guidelines as a home stop.

The guidelines are as follows:

  • Elementary student Grades K-6- 400 metres
  • Jr High  students grades 7-9 – 600 metres

Can my child bring a friend home after school with them on the bus?

To ensure the safety of our students, only those who hold a valid bus pass for a particular route are authorized to ride the bus. The School Division operates a large and very complex school bus route system.

Student safety is compromised when students ride on buses other than the assigned route or depart the bus at a location other than the authorized location. The school bus drivers are prohibited from accepting notes from parents, school staff, or students requesting to ride on any routes other than the assigned bus route or to be picked up or dropped off at an alternate location.

Why can’t last minute busing changes be granted?

To ensure the safety of your child transportation requires 3 – 5 school days’ notice to ensure the driver has received written communication of any changes to your child’s bus stop location.

What if my child needs a replacement bus pass?

Bus passes are expected to last 5 – 7 years. If your child requires a replacement pass, you may request one through the Parent Portal. Please visit the Parent Portal and fill in the appropriate forms for a Bus Pass Replacement. Note that a fee may apply; see the website for details.

If I choose to send my child to a school of choice can I still have my child ride the bus?

Generally, there is no transportation available to a school of choice. The exception is Vincent J. Maloney School. Busing, for the exceptions, comes at a higher cost than a regular bus pass, and the 2.4 km rule does not apply because it is a school of choice.

What size of items can I bring on a bus?

According to the School Bus Operation Regulation (16) of the Motor Transport Act, large items cannot be carried on school buses unless they can be secured and do not block the aisle. Seats are 39" wide, and there are often three students in a seat; therefore, we only allow those items that are no more than 13" X 13" X 23" in size or can be fully zipped into the child's backpack. For more information, please go to the Division website, and under the Parents/Transportation area, you can find the "Large Items on a Bus" document.

What happens if my child is temporarily on crutches?

If your child is temporarily on crutches and cannot walk to the current bus stop, we will try to accommodate (whenever possible) within the parameters set out by the cities/towns we transport in. Closer stops may be accommodated if a) It does not disrupt the timing of the current route. B) Access to a closer stop is serviceable (no cul-de-sacs). Please note this accommodation can only be for a finite period and will revert to the original stop afterward.

My child has left an item on the bus what should I do?

Please call your child’s contractor of the route, and they can check the bus for your item. To find the phone number to reach the contractor of your route, log into your child’s parent portal, and beside the routing information is the contractor and a number to reach them

How do I contact the contractor of my child’s route?

To find the phone number to reach the contractor of your route, log into your child’s parent portal, and beside the routing information is the contractor and a number to reach them.

My child has left an item on the bus. How can we get the item returned?

Please log in to your Parent Portal to find your child’s route contractor. Call the number provided, and they will gladly look for your lost item.

Can my driver make a stop location change or route change?

The Division determines your child’s bus stop location. The driver cannot modify the stop location or route without written approval from the Division’s transportation department. The stop location and timing are subject to change, if required, periodically during the school year at the Division’s discretion.

Will I receive a reduction in bus fees if my child does not ride the bus?

Unfortunately, the cost of delivering bus operations requires the division to pay contractors for the entire school year, and all costs associated with transportation operations continue to remain unchanged. This was also true during the pandemic when school instruction moved online several times this past year.

At the same time, bus operations were active for students who required in-person instruction. The government directed school divisions to compensate contractors for all routes and all educational days on the division calendar at their normal rate(s). Costs to deliver transportation services remained unchanged.

In the City of St. Albert, where are bus stops located?

In the City of St. Albert, stops will be made at city transit stop locations whenever possible. GSACRD does not stop at all city transit stops within the City. The Transit stops utilized by GSACRD are based on walk guidelines and the registrations received by June 1st of any given school year.

The use of Transit stops directly results from the Safe Journeys to School Initiative. The City's transit stops are the safest location to stop a bus whenever possible, and they are researched for safety and maintained year-round.

Can I receive transportation from both my home and my sitter/daycare location for my child?

Yes, you can receive transportation from both your sitter and home location; however, if these two addresses require two buses, you will be assigned a 2nd bus access fee in addition to your regular busing fee. Please note that it is not possible to have your child attend extra-curricular/after-school activities or work.

I live outside of the Jurisdictional Boundaries of Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools can my child ride the bus?

Your child may be able to access transportation by meeting at a bus stop within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Division and the Attendance Boundary for the school you would like your child to attend. To inquire about this access, please get in touch with transportation at 780-459-7711.

Why Can’t I have two Primary addresses for my child’s transportation?

We understand some families have an agreement for the children with a 50/50 split of time between 2 home addresses. Alberta Education states we can only use one home address as the primary address. The address used as the primary address is the one in the student information software PowerSchool. We encourage parents to discuss and decide who will be the primary address in the system.

Please note that this decision will decide the fees that may be assigned for busing your child(ren). The primary address will be based on the primary address in PowerSchool software. The fee would apply on September 30th of the school year. If the primary address is changed in the system after that date, there will be no changes/refunds to the fees until the following school year.