Thursday, November 5, 2009

Question: Proper Loading and Unloading

A while back, I invited readers to submit their questions to me via my email Well today, we have the first of many questions.

Aren't all students, including those in wheelchairs supposed to be ready for pickup and not sitting inside the house waiting for the bus to come? Also those red lights? Aren't they only supposed to go on when the students are actually boarding the bus or unloading the bus? and not while the bus is just sitting there waiting for the student(s) to get to come out of the house and get to the end of the driveway?

Extremely frustrated from NY

Dear Extremely Frustrated,

The general rule of thumb is that all able students should be out at a bus stop 5 to 10 minutes ahead of the scheduled pick-up time. This means that students who ride the regular education buses should be ready and waiting for the bus to get them. The only exception to this rule is in inclement weather where a child may wait in a garage or at the door ready to dash (run or walk quickly) out to the bus when it pulls up.

As for wheelchair students and special education students, these students typically get door-to-door service from the local bus company and usually a bus will pull into the driveway of the student who needs services. These buses are typically smaller than a 40-foot bus. However, I have seen buses that are the size of a regular education bus, but are equipped with a wheelchair lift. A lot of special education students need far more supervision than is given at a traditional bus stop, therefore it does take a little more time to load and unload these students, usually 5-10 minutes, due to their special needs.

The flashing yellow and red lights should be activated anytime a bus is stopped on a roadway for the purpose of loading and unloading students. This is for the safety of all motorists and students standing at the stop. Typical times for any given bus stop vary from 30 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on circumstances. If you feel a bus driver is taking an exceptionally long time at a stop because a child is not ready at the stop, you can call the local bus garage for your area and report the situation. Otherwise, I encourage you to be patient, the child may have forgotten something and had to run back to the house to get it, or there could be other extenuating circumstances that would prolong a wait at a stop.

We understand that you are just as busy as we are and need to get places just like we do, but we do appreciate your understanding. We do our best not to hold up traffic on main roads so as not to impede the flow of traffic, but unfortunately it does happen occasionally.

Activating The Lights,

The Bus Driver


Lisa said...

I admire the US school bus system and was really, really impressed when I first learned that one cannot overtake a school bus during loading and unloading.

I can imagine the frustration though.

Anonymous said...

Frustration isn't the word. The other day I spent TEN MINUTES (yes, I timed it) sitting there for a "pwecious angel" to get off the bus and saunter lazily to the curb. All the while the bus sat there with flashing lights, holding up traffic.

I suggest a "boot up the rear" device that goes into effect after 60 seconds. Not ready to move? BOING!

Confessions From A Work-At-Home Mom said...

This is my first time visiting your blog, and I think it's divine intervention, because the TV station where I work is doing a news story today about a special needs student *NOT* getting door-to-door service because of budget cuts!