Bus routes change quite often. Stops are added and deleted on a regular basis. This frequency of address changing can impact any one particular route by 5-10 minutes. The other families on the route may or may not even know their stop time changed. This is true for both pick up and drop off bus times.
We first must understand what pick up time means. Pick up time is the designated time the bus will arrive at said location. This does not however mean the time the student(s) should walk out of their house to the bus stop. It is encouraged/mandatory for students to be at the bus stop 5 minutes PRIOR to the scheduled pick up time. Most bus routes are scheduled to wait 30 seconds to 1 minute before they must proceed to the next stop. Factor in road conditions, traffic, weather and construction, if students are not already waiting at the bus stop, routes could be delayed considerably. All it takes is one child not to be ready and for example, the driver waits 2-3 minutes for them. By the time the driver gets to the next stop, the route is 5 minutes late. Drivers should never skip stops in the morning, and are expected to be on time to the best of the driver’s ability.
The drop off times for school bus routes are a little more flexible than they are in the morning. Older students that know their way home or have keys, may be dropped off earlier then their scheduled drop off time. This happens when not all the students ride the bus home in the afternoon. Drivers will not go to stops that children are not on board for. If there are a lot of pre-k or kindergarten students on the route, drivers are encouraged to run the pm/ drop off routes as close to or on time according to the route copy schedule. Sometimes this is not possible without waiting on the side of the road with students on the bus. Therefore school bus companies ask parents that are expecting to pick up their child from the bus stop, be ready or prepared 10 minutes earlier than the scheduled drop off time.
It is a bus driver’s goal to be as consistent as possible so that parent and guardians can plan accordingly. Drivers are reminded to never drop off students if the timing or location may compromise the student’s safety. Small children that are usually met by an adult may be held on the bus if that parent is not there to meet the bus. This is always communicated with dispatch and district when this occurs so that parents can be called and informed where their child is. Parents are encouraged to be early to the bus stop and know that sometimes they need to be prepared to wait for their child’s bus to arrive. Working together with one another is key in providing timely reliable service.