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Bus Route Guidelines

Introduction to Bus Routing Guidelines

Wayne County Public Schools is required by law to provide transportation services to students as a privilege for students attending state supported schools.  As such, our mission is to transport students safely and on time every day, in the most efficient manner possible.  In addition, Wayne County Public Schools uses a “state-of-the-art” computerized school bus routing and scheduling program as required by legislative mandate September 1, 1992.  This program, (TIMS) Transportation Information Management System, is unique in the field of computerized bus routing. Contained herein are guidelines used by Wayne County Public Schools to determine bus routes.  These guidelines are intended to ensure administration and conform to state standards/requirements.
Public School Law Requirements

Article 17 of the Public School Laws of North Carolina defines the legal requirements governing the routing of school buses.  The law contains the following provisions:

   Unless road or other conditions make it inadvisable, public school buses shall be routed on state-maintained highways, municipal streets, or other streets with publicly dedicated right-of-way. The local board of education shall not be responsible for damage to the roadway. Each public school bus shall be routed so that the bus passes within one mile of the residence of each pupil assigned to that bus. A pupil who lives one and one-half miles or more from the school to which the pupil is assigned shall be eligible for school bus transportation.
   State regulations … require superintendents to plan bus routes that eliminate overlapping routes, back-track mileage, and unnecessary trips.

   Bus stops should be at least 0.2 miles apart unless safety factors require closer stops.

The laws cited above, along with a desire to ensure efficient and effective Wayne County Public Schools Transportation, are the basis for the guidelines contained in this document.

Establishing Bus Routes

The Superintendent has responsibility for establishing/approving bus routes.  This responsibility is delegated to the Transportation Department by the Superintendent.  Once bus routes are established, any changes recommended by a school must be communicated to and approved by the Transportation Department within 10 days of the change.  (School bus routes may often be different than previous years due to growth orpolicy regulations.)  Parents may request a review of routing issues by completing the “Transportation Service Request Form”.  Requests will be evaluated based on the guidelines contained in this document.  NOTE:  These guidelines are endorsed by the Superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools and Wayne County Board Of Education.

Passenger Stops When Traveling State Maintained Roads

Generally, buses will travel only state maintained roads.  Passenger stops will be made as designated by the Transportation Department.  The State required minimum distance between stops of .2 miles is observed, except where passenger safety or special education conditions exist.  When passengers live 1 mile or less down a secondary road on which the bus route does not continue, the student will be picked up at the intersection on the primary road and the secondary road, unless safety factors prohibit such a passenger stop.  Appropriate consideration will be given to the location of passenger stops when safety factors exist.
Passenger Stops In Subdivisions

Subdivisions are defined as any “cluster of homes” that are established for residential living, including “stick built” homes and mobile homes parks.  Subdivisions may contain private roads or State maintained roads.   It should be noted that according to education law, buses are only required to travel state maintained roads.  Therefore, buses are not required by law to travel into private subdivisions.  Further, buses need not travel into subdivisions that have state-maintained roads unless the distance between the entrance to the subdivisions and the farthest point from the entrance of the subdivision is greater than one mile.  However, passenger safety always outweighs other transportation factors and will be given appropriate consideration when routing and operating buses.

With these facts in mind, the following guidelines will be observed:  Passenger stops will normally be designated at the entrance(s) of subdivisions or on corners.  Buses will be allowed to travel into subdivisions when one of the following conditions are met:

   A child requires accommodation for a special need as designated by the Exceptional Child Director, or:
   The distance from the entrance of the subdivision to the farthest student passenger residence living in the subdivision is greater than 1 mile.
   It is the parents' responsibility to assure that the child arrives to and from the bus stop safely.  (Due to the mandated distance between stops, a student's assigned stop may not always be visible from their residence.)

   Once one of the above conditions is met, all of the following additional conditions must exist:

       1. An adequate turnaround for the bus is provided, and
       2. Roads are on the state maintained approved list.

   When buses are directed to enter subdivisions, the following rules will be observed:

       1. Turnaround points will be established within the subdividion, as close to the exit of the subdivision as reasonably possible;
       2. Passenger stops will be established within the subdivision as close to the exit of the subdivision as reasonably possible.

Passenger Stops on "Dead End" Roads Or At The End of a Route

State maintained roads that cause a bus to turn around because of a "dead end" or roads that end at the county Boundary line will be traveled only if a) the road is more than one-half mile in length, and b) an adequate turnaround is provided.

Bus Turnarounds

Due to safety concerns, school bus turnarounds will be minimized whenever possible.  As a general rule, buses will not extend their routes to find a turnaround when an adequate turnaround exists at the last passenger stop on that portion of the route.  The parent or guardian will be expected to identify an adequate turnaround, either in their own private drive or that of a neighbor in order for the bus to observe that particular passenger stop.  Otherwise, the parent or guardian will provide transportation for the student to the next closest designated passenger stop.

Double Routes

   The general rule for buses that have more than one run is as follows:
   The first run in the morning will pickup students that live the greatest distance from school.
   The second run in the morning will pickup students that live closest to the school.
   The first route in the afternoon will deliver students that live closest to school.  The second run in the afternoon will deliver students that live the greatest distance from school.

Out Of District

The Wayne County Board of Education only allows out-of-district students to ride buses when the student attends a license daycare located within the district.

Stops At Businesses

At no time may a student's pick-up or drop-off bus stop be located at a place of business, with the exception of a State-Licensed daycare facility.
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