Bus Stop Parameters
First Student transports approximately 5,000 students that reside in the boundaries of the Methacton School District each day on 104 buses to over 40 different district, non-public, private and charter schools. Our goal is to route school buses in the most efficient and safe manner consistent with State Law and School Board policies and guidelines.
The following factors were identified by the Methacton Transportation Committee to be considered in determining bus stop locations that are safe for the students, buses and community:
- Mandated distances for activation of the school bus 8-way warning lights
- Visibility at the stop location for approaching motorists
- Student access and distance to the bus stop
- Age of the students
- Minimizing School buses backing up
- Avoiding school buses entering cul-de-sacs, dead end streets, or developments where other vehicles or objects may create unsafe travel
- Traffic Volume
- Road Speed
- Hazardous roads as designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
Definitions and Clarifications
- Cul-de-sac / Turnaround: Except for special circumstances, buses will not be routed into a cul-de-sac/turnaround/dead end street/incomplete or undesignated road. This is considered a best practice for the following reasons:
- Cul-de-sac stops create blind spots often causing students to enter or exit in a danger zone around the bus.
- Different styles and sizes of buses makes maneuvering in a cul-de-sac difficult.
- The rear of the bus has potential to swing causing potential of property damage or injury.
- Parked cars and other obstacles create road hazards that may not be seen until entering the cul-se-sac.
- Hazardous Routes: Only the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation can certify a road as hazardous. Even if designated a hazardous road, the law permits students to walk up to 500 feet to reach a bus stop.
- The law provides for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to review potentially hazardous walking routes. The request for this is made to the local PennDOT engineering district office. PennDOT regulations do not address hazards other than road or traffic conditions. Determinations are made by PennDOT in accordance with state mandated guidelines PA Code 447.4, Hazardous Walking Routes. PennDOT will review the nature of the hazard, if any, and make a final decision. PA Code 447.4 states “Even if designated a hazardous road, the law permits students to walk up to 500 feet to reach a bus stop.”
- Distances from Bus Stop: According to state law, and regardless of age, students can walk up to 1.5 miles to a bus stop. (PA School Code of 1949 24 PS 13-1362 and Regulations of the PA State Board of Education)
- Length of Ride (Time on Bus): There are no limits set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education on the length of a bus ride. The district makes every effort to adhere to a limit of 50 minutes to transport within district boundaries. Any additional time spent on the bus due to transporting a student outside of district boundaries is considered allowable and may exceed 60 minutes.
- Distance between bus stops: Maintaining state mandated distances for activation of the school bus 8-way warning lights 150-300’ before the designated bus stop.
- Mirror Stops: Where possible, all stops for private, public and parochial students should be at the same location.