In general, school boards provide transportation for students. If a school is in an urban area with a good public transit system and a school bus transportation system is unavailable, students may be eligible for reduced or family rates on transit passes for use on the public system.
In Ottawa, the transportation eligibility distance from the school to the student’s home is 0.8 km for junior and senior kindergarten students, 1.6 km for grade 1 to grade 8 students, and 3.2 km for students in grades 9 to 12, who reside outside the Urban Transit Area. Parents can locate their closest bus stop at the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) website, www.ottawaschoolbus.ca, by using the “Stop Locator.” During the winter months, inclement weather may result in the cancellation of school bus services for the day. Details of cancellation decisions are posted on the OSTA website by 6:00 a.m. the day of a cancellation, broadcast over local radio stations or found on member school board websites. While bus services may be cancelled, schools generally remain open. On occasion, a bus may be delayed on account of poor weather conditions, causing a longer than usual wait. It is important to ensure that children are dressed appropriately for the weather.
In Montréal, there are two main public school boards and each handles its own school bus service. Information about the English Montreal School Board service may be found atwww.emsb.qc.ca/en/services_en/pages/transportation... At the Commission scolaire de Montréal, school bus service is only available to students from pre-kindergarten to grade 3. Starting in grade 4, students must use public transportation to get to school. Students eligible for transportation by school bus are, generally, kindergarten students living more than 0.8 km from the school and students in grades 1, 2 and 3 living more than 1.6 km from the school. The bus routes are established by the CSDM School Board. More information can be found on its website at www.csdm.qc.ca.
In Toronto, children may be eligible for transportation to and from school in certain circumstances. Depending on the distance that they live from the school, they may be eligible for either school bus transportation, if they are between junior kindergarten and grade 5, or for TTC tickets so that they can take public transit free of charge, if they are in grades 6 to 8. Transportation may also be provided for students who have a medical condition or disability that severely limits walking. Children placed in a Special Education class or a French immersion program not located in their home school, who meet distance requirements, may also be eligible for transportation. Transportation is not provided for students attending any school or special program at their own request, even when distance is a factor. Eligibility for transportation may be determined by talking to a school principal or to the transportation office of the local school board.
In Calgary, the transportation eligibility distance from the school to the student’s home is 0.8 km for students in kindergarten to grade 6, and 1.6 km for grade 7 to 9 students. The charter bus companies are Southland and First Student. Students in grades 10 to 12 are not eligible for school bus transportation. They use CT (Calgary Transit). Special needs students are entitled to all types of transportation, including taxis or the handibus.
In Edmonton, eligibility for transportation is determined by where the student lives. Yellow School Bus service is available for students who live beyond the “walk boundary”, which is about 2.4 km from school, students who live in neighbourhoods where there is no school, students with special needs, all kindergarten students, and those attending alternative programs. Bus service is also provided for any K-12 student living in an area not reached by the Edmonton Transportation System.
In Vancouver, school bus transportation is provided free of charge only to students in kindergarten to grade 3 who live more than 4.0 km by the nearest passable road from a public school in which there is a grade for them. It is also provided free of charge to school children in grades 4 to 12 who live more than 4.8 km by the nearest passable road from a public school in which there is a grade for them. Students who are twelve to twenty-one years of age may be issued school bus certificates that entitle them to transportation on public buses within the school district.