Safety is the overriding factor in choosing routes and bus stops. Bus stops will be placed on public roadways that are of sufficient construction, size, and width to accommodate a school bus. Further considerations include:
- percent of grade,
- number of lanes (at least two),
- whether the roadway is paved,
- the speed of traffic,
- whether there is adequate sight distance to locate a bus stop safely,
- and the avoidance of travel on private roads and/or driveways.
Bus routes are designed with buses traveling on main arterials with students picked up and dropped off at central locations. Visibility – Bus drivers need to have at least 500 feet of visible roadway to the bus stop. If there is not ample visibility (e.g. curve or hill) a “school bus stop ahead sign” is put in place before the stop in accordance with WAC 392-145-030. Bus drivers activate their school bus warning lights 300-100 feet before arriving at the bus stop, where the posted speed limit is 35 mph and under, and 500-300 feet before arriving at the bus stop where the posted speed limit is 35 mph and over.
Why are bus stops located at corners?
Bus stops are located at corners for several reasons:
- Bus stops may be located at corners or intersections whenever possible. Street signs at corner stops are much more visible to drivers than house numbers.
- Students are generally taught to cross at corners rather than in the middle of the street.
- Traffic controls, such as stoplights or signs, are located at corners. These tend to slow down motorists at corners, making them more cautious as they approach intersections. The motoring public generally expects school buses to stop at corners rather than individual houses. Impatient motorists are also less likely to pass buses at corners than along a street. Cars passing school buses create the greatest risk to students who are getting on or off the bus.
- Bus drivers activate their warning lights and stop arm when picking up and dropping off students. Corner stops allow ample time for the driver to activate the yellow warning lights before getting to the stop.
- Ride times for students are shorter if buses are kept on the main arterial and avoid traveling down side streets. Exceptions are in place for certain students whose needs are addressed through an IEP (individual education plan) or 504 plan are eligible for “curbside” service. This service is typically restricted to situations where a less restrictive environment is not possible or where medical issues require this type of service.
What other factors are considered in bus stops?
- School bus stops are located for optimal visibility to motorists.
- Students who live in a subdivision will walk out to the main entrance of their neighborhood.
- The safety of all school bus stops are evaluated with the understanding that the parent/guardian (or other adult) will provide age-appropriate supervision for their student(s) at the bus stop.
Transportation exceptions for students who reside within 1 mile:
- The students who need to cross a roadway with three or more lanes at an intersection that is not controlled by a crossing guard, stop sign or traffic light.
- Absence of appropriate walking path.
- Alternative routes, such as parks or community trails are not provided.
How are bus stops distances determined?
Distance from home to bus stop:
Students may, depending on conditions, be required to walk up to 1 mile on public roadway to access a stop.
Distance to closest stop:
Bus stops will be no closer than 300-600 feet apart with the exception of hazards, e.g. speeds over 40 MPH, ditches, railroads.
Criteria considered requirements for adding a stop or making a house stop.
- It is not possible to provide bus stops that are within sight of all student's homes or daycares unless house stops are made for all students. We encourage parents to be present at bus stops to promote proper pedestrian and bus stop behavior.
- Bus stops are not added solely due to the bus routed past the home. The higher frequency of stops made by the bus creates impatient motorists, increasing the risk of the public driving around the bus and creating a safety concern for students who walk to the bus stop.
- Bus stops are not modified to accommodate a single student stop. Other students may be assigned to the stop, but ride infrequently. Stops are made at corners for efficiency and to accommodate other students who may move into the neighborhood and other students using the stop due to an inadequate walk path.
Bus Stop Guidelines