Doing What’s Best for Kids

Business Administration AP 560: Student Transportation Services


Alberta School Transportation Regulation requires Alberta School Jurisdictions to provide transportation services to:

  • Students who live 2.4 kilometres or more away from their designated schools;
  • Students who have a disability that prohibits them from using regular transportation services and are transported using Special Transportation

The distance from the designated school is based on walking distance measured using walkways and trails. It is measured using specialized software approved by Alberta Education.

Access to Transportation Services for Non-Eligible Students

The Fort McMurray Public School Division and the Fort McMurray Catholic Board of Education are providing additional transportation services in many areas to students who live less than 2.4 kilometres from their designated schools. However, this service is not funded in any part by Alberta Education and is offered solely as an additional service for the convenience of parents.


  1. Cold temperatures, wind chill, snow, traffic, staffing and other circumstances can delay or cancel transportation services. 
    1. Yellow school buses and Transit may run later than usual or not at all. As a result, students may have to wait at their bus stop for longer periods of time. Parents are to ensure children are dressed appropriately for the weather and are not left unattended at bus stops for any period of time, under any circumstances. Parents are to ensure children know their safe return plan to home/caregiver if they are cold and the bus is delayed. Parents also are to have alternate arrangements in place for getting children to school should the bus not arrive or be delayed.
  2. The following type of transportation services will be made available for students and the associated fees are outlined in the Transportation Fees appendix (AP 560 A):
    1. School (Yellow) Bus is provided for students outside required walk area which is normally a distance at least 1.0 km from their designated school:
      1. Elementary schools (Kindergarten to Grade 6):  for students travelling to their designated school.
      2. Middle Schools (Grades 7-8): for students residing south of the Athabasca River travelling to their designated school;
      3. Saprae & Prairie Creek (Kindergarten to Grade 12): all students travelling to their designated schools;
      4. French Immersion (Kindergarten to Grade 12):  all students residing south of the Athabasca River travelling to their designated school;
      5. Choice School (Kindergarten to Grade 12): Students not attending their designated school may access existing Yellow Bus routes and stops to another school of their choice if service and space is available.  Typically, this will only be available on Yellow Bus transportation to schools that offer French Immersion Programs as the designated area for the program covers a larger area.
      6. Alternate Address (Kindergarten to Grade 12): (Babysitter/Joint Custody or Home and Alternate Addresses): students that request to be transported from both their home and alternate addresses on two different bus routes must first meet the applicable transportation criteria and fees based on home address, and secondly will be required to pay the choice fee for the seat on the second bus in addition to any applicable fees for the first bus. Both addresses are subject to the 1.0km minimum distance and availability of space and routes to access service.
      7. Severely Handicapped children:  where deemed necessary by the Director of Inclusive Learning, specialized yellow bus transportation will be provided.
    2. City Transit is available for:
      1. Junior Senior High Schools: Only service provided for: 
        1. North of Athabasca River: all students (grades 7 to 12)
        2. South of Athabasca River: Junior/Senior high students (grades 9 to 12) except those in Saprae, Prairie Creek or in French Immersion.
  3. The Associate Superintendent, Business and Finance may enter into agreements to obtain the services of the following:
    1. Yellow buses as provided by a contractor, which must be awarded through a tendering process;
    2. City Transit services which are to be utilized wherever possible;
    3. Handi-Bus as provided by a contractor or the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo;
    4. Cars and vans as provided by a contractor; and
    5. In remote areas with no bus service in the Division, transportation is parent-provided.
  4. Transportation services will be made available for students identified as "special needs" and transportation assistance may be made available for medical conditions identified as "permanent or temporary." Transportation may be provided as either regular or special travel services.
    1. Any additional costs incurred on behalf of students with temporary medical conditions will be borne by the parents.
    2. There is provision for the sharing of the medical diagnosis/conditions and school medical response plan to student transportation personnel, on an as-needed and confidential basis
    3. The form of transportation provided for special needs students will be determined by the:
      1. Ability of the student to utilize regular transportation services, and
      2. Travelling time or wait time for the student.
  5. School (Yellow) Bus Routes
    Bus routes, schedules and stops shall be provided based on the following criteria:
    1. Bus scheduling and routing is to be designed to optimize service at a reasonable cost, including double shifting of buses between schools and or Division and sharing routes with other Divisions;
    2. Routes, schedules and stops will ensure student safety;
    3. Routes will be established within each school's attendance area;
    4. New routes will be established only when full capacity of the existing route has been reached or is imminent;
    5. Whenever possible, ride times for students are to be 60 minutes or less. In exceptional circumstances this may be extended beyond 60 minutes.
    6. Wherever possible, yellow buses will serve two routes, both in the morning and the afternoon; and
    7. Students will be picked up and dropped off at a designated stop. The location of stops shall be determined using the following criteria:
      1. The distance between bus stops shall be no less than 0.4 km;
      2. The walking distance from any residence to a designated bus stop is to be 0.5 km or less;
      3. No bus stops will be located within the walk area which is normally 1.0 km, but can be longer, from the designated school for that route;
      4. The same bus stops shall be used for all yellow bus routes serving the same neighbourhood, for all school divisions;
      5. The number of bus stops shall be minimized in order to reduce the length of the bus ride as much as possible
      6. Except for special needs transportation, students will not be picked-up or dropped-off at their residence. Designated stop shall be used.
  6. The Principal shall ensure that:
    1. That supervising and escorting staff are assigned and waiting for busses five (5) minutes before scheduled arrival and that supervising and escorting staff maintain control and care of students from the scheduled loading time until the bus departs.
    2. That an ATA member is available to receive a student at the school if a student must be returned to the school due to conduct or for the inability to drop off the student.
    3. Students and parents are made aware that
      1. They, or their parents, are responsible for any damages to transportation services;
      2. Any conduct on a bus that is improper or jeopardizes that safety of others may result in a suspension of transportation services;
      3. Appropriate safety programs and rules shall be published and in place for observance and direction by drivers, passengers and employees.
      4. Sharing of medical diagnoses or conditions and/or medical response plans with student transportation personnel occurs on an as-needed and confidential basis.
    4. The Principal shall work with transportation providers to discharge student discipline pursuant to Division administrative procedures and provincial statutes.
      1. The Superintendent will monitor and where necessary, adjudicate upon recommendations made by Division principals who suspend a student from access to the Division’s transportation services; and
      2. Place before the Board any and all recommendations made by Division personnel which deny a student access to Division transportation services for a continuous period exceeding five school days.
    5. Principals are responsible for the collection of unpaid fees.