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Simcoe County School Busses

Frequently Asked Questions

Transportation Eligibility

The Simcoe County District School Board and the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board determine walk distance policies for students. These walk distances are:

  • Grades JK – 8: 1.6 km
  • Grades 9 – 12: 3.2 km

Parents/guardians of students within the designated walk distances are responsible for the safe arrival of their student to school. Measurements from home to school are calculated from the residential property line closest to the school, to the closest entrance to school property using publicly owned roads and walkways.

If your primary address is within these walk distances, you are not eligible for transportation.

See SCSTC Policy TE01

Yes. Eligible students can request transportation to one (1) alternate address through their school, provided:

• The student’s primary address and requested alternative address are eligible for transportation;

• Both locations are within the school boundary;

• The alternate address is served by an existing school vehicle stop, on an existing route where there is available space; and

• The request is consistent with the policies and practices of the respective Member District School Board.

Parents/guardians must apply for use of an alternate address on an annual basis through their student’s school.

See SCSTC Policy TE10

School Vehicle Stop Locations

It typically takes five(5) business days to organize transportation arrangements once the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium (SCSTC) has received the information from the school and confirmed that the request follows the policies and procedures of the Member District School Board and the SCSTC.

Routes are prepared prior to the start of the school year. Since route arrangements have already been completed, altering these arrangements requires communication between the school, the SCSTC and the School Vehicle Operator, and may impact other students on the vehicle.

Transportation changes will be communicated to parents/guardians through their student’s schools.

Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) French Immersion (FI) and Extended French (EFSL) stop locations typically do not follow the same criteria as regular home-to-school stop locations, as per SCDSB policy.

Criteria for FI/EFSL stop locations are as follows:

• Centralized community school vehicle stops in different locations from regular bus stops to avoid student identification confusion and traffic congestion;

• Availability of parking for parents to drop off students and to await students in a safe manner;

• In public spaces or locations where groups of students may safely gather;

• Not on roadsides unless reviewed and approved following a request through the school;

• Not to be at, or adjacent to, a school location to avoid student identification confusion and traffic congestion;

• Stop locations must have winter maintenance.

All pick-up and drop-off locations are reviewed for safety considerations before being implemented. Factors reviewed when locating a school vehicle stop include, but are not limited to:

• Centralized community stop locations

• Volume of traffic

• Posted speed limits

• Signalized intersections or crossings

• Physical barriers

• Sidewalks

See SCSTC Policy TE02 and Policy TE08

No. Drivers are employees of the school vehicle transportation company and are not authorized to make any changes or accommodate requests. Changes made by a driver may result in termination.

Bus routes are planned by the SCSTC to be safe, equitable, efficient and within policy while meeting the needs of all transportation eligible students.

Route schedules are subject to change – drivers, stop times and run paths on any route may change at any time. The SCSTC reviews bus routes on an ongoing basis as a student and school needs are constantly changing. Based on student and school needs identified, changes may be made to school bus routes throughout the school year.

Any changes to a school bus route that would affect students’ bus stop time or location will be communicated through their school.

The maximum walk distance to a school vehicle stop is 0.8 km.

The walk distance to a school vehicle stop may exceed 0.8 km in situations where the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium determines the roadway unsafe for a school vehicle to manoeuvre.

See SCSTC Policy TE03

For safety and efficiency, school vehicle stops are created centrally to accommodate numerous students. Other than for exceptional conditions, school vehicle stops will be a minimum of 200 metres apart.

The Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium avoids routing school vehicles onto dead-end streets and cul-de-sacs, as they typically cannot accommodate safe turn-around points for the vehicle.

No. Kindergarten students are required to walk to/from designated school vehicle stops.

Any request for a change in service, or new stops, must be submitted through your school to the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium (SCSTC). The SCSTC will approve or deny this request based on Member District School Board and SCSTC policies and procedures. The school will be notified of the request’s outcome. All stops must be authorized by the SCSTC to ensure they have been reviewed for safety and to assist in ensuring accurate school vehicle route information can be maintained.

Delays and Cancellations

School vehicle cancellation information is communicated through the:

• Local media;

• SCSTC website School Bus Information Page; and

• SCSTC Twitter account.

Student safety is always the priority.

Early morning assessments of road and weather conditions are reviewed during a 5:30 am conference call between the SCSTC and School Vehicle Operators.

Factors for cancellations include:

  • assessment of road conditions;
  • assessment of current and forecasted weather information;
  • assessment of visibility as it relates to the safe operation of school vehicles;
  • assessment of current and forecasted precipitation in the form of snow accumulation and freezing rain as it relates to the safe operation of school vehicles;
  • confirmation if snow plows have been out on the roads; and
  • gathering additional information on road conditions from available local services and resources.

School Vehicle cancellations may:

  • be specific to a single weather zone;
  • include multiple weather zones; or
  • comprise of a total Simcoe County cancellation.

Simcoe County is divided into four (4) weather zones:

  • North Zone – Midland, Penetanguishine, Elmvale, Orillia and surrounding areas
  • West Zone – Collingwood, Stayner, Wasaga Beach and surrounding areas
  • South Zone – Bradford, Alliston, Tottenham and surrounding areas
  • Central Zone – Barrie, Innisfil, Angus and surrounding areas

Please reference the School Bus Information page for school vehicle cancellations.

Weather related school vehicle cancellations are the responsibility of School Vehicle Operators, in consultation with SCSTC.

On days where inclement weather is forecast the School Vehicle Operators in Simcoe County have their local employees’ review local weather and road conditions throughout the County prior to 5:30 am. A combination of School Vehicle Operator Management, Safety Personnel and Senior Drivers undertake a number of processes to review current local road and weather condition, including but not limited to:

  • drive their local areas to determine current road and visibility conditions;
  • consult local townships to confirm plows are out clearing roads;
  • consult other available local services and resources regarding local road conditions.

Information regarding the school day on days that school vehicles have been cancelled is available through the students’ respective schools.


Parents/ guardians of those riding school buses are requested not to bring dogs to bus stop locations while their child is waiting for or disembarking from the bus. This request is for the safety and well-being of all children who may not be comfortable around any dog, regardless of your pet’s size and/or temperament.

Contact the School Vehicle Operator regarding lost items. Be ready to provide the school and route number to the operator. View School Vehicle Operator information.

Remind student(s):

• To be at the school bus stop on time (five to 10 mins. prior to scheduled pick up time);

• To wait in a safe place away from the side of the road;

• To know the danger zones around the bus where the driver cannot see them;

• To board the bus in single file, holding onto the handrail;

• To find a seat right away, and stay seated, facing forward at all times;

• To make sure the aisle stays clear;

• To listen to and not distract the driver;

• That throwing things, misbehaving, eating, drinking or smoking are not allowed; and

• To keep heads and arms inside the bus.

The Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium holds an annual First Rider Program – a free safety program for first-time school vehicle riders.

Parents/guardians are responsible for their student(s) to and from the school vehicle stop. It is also the responsibility of parents/guardians to ensure that their JK/SK or French Immersion (Simcoe County District School Board only) student(s) are met at the assigned school vehicle stop for afternoon drop-off by a responsible person.

Parents/guardians are responsible for students until they board the school vehicle, and also from the time they disembark.

See SCSTC Policy TR03 and Policy TR04 

Eating and drinking on the school vehicle are prohibited for the following safety reasons:

• Some students have severe allergies to certain foods;

• Leftover food and drink can cause a mess attracting bees and wasps;

• A student may choke on a piece of food.

For safety reasons, aisles must be kept clear of obstacles at all times. Skis, ski poles, snowshoes, sleighs, hockey bags, skateboards etc. are strictly prohibited. Only small items that can be easily placed on a student’s lap – or in a school bag – will be permitted. Similarly, musical instruments in cases are acceptable, provided they can fit on students’ laps or between their legs resting on the floor.

See SCSTC Policy TG06

No. Temporary changes to transportation cannot be accommodated under Member District School Board and Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium policies and procedures.

Contact your school Principal. The school vehicle is considered an extension of the classroom, and students are held accountable to the school Principal for their actions while on a school vehicle.

School Vehicle Safety

Yes. The Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium offers and/or supports the following school bus safety programs for students. Please click on a program listed below to learn more information:

  • First Rider Program
  • School Bus Evacuation Training
  • CAA School Bus Safety Patroller Program – support the co-ordination of training at the request of the school
    In Class School Bus Safety Training (Pilot Program for 2017-18)

School vehicle safety can be improved by teaching children the correct procedures and proper behaviour around school vehicles.

Children should know:

• To wait in a safe place away from the side of the road;

• The danger zones around the bus where the driver cannot see them;

• To enter the bus in single file, holding onto the handrail;

• To find a seat right away and stay seated, facing forward at all times;

• To make sure that the aisle stays clear;

• To listen to the driver and not distract the driver;

• That throwing things, misbehaving, eating, drinking or smoking are not allowed; and

• To keep heads and arms inside the bus.

Students who have left the school vehicle should stay away from the side of the road, and stay a safe distance away from the school vehicle. If a student drops something near the vehicle, the student must leave it and inform an adult. Picking it up may cause the student to become out of the driver’s sight.

If students must cross the street, they should walk at least ten (10) feet in front of the bus, make eye contact with the driver, wait for their signal, and look all ways before crossing.

Parents should meet students on the side of the street where the vehicle stops.

Follow this link to learn more about school vehicle safety: Click here to learn more about school vehicle safety.

Studies have shown that the addition of seat belts to the current configuration of a school vehicle increases the chance of neck and head injuries.

School vehicles protect passengers through “compartmentalization”, a design that includes:

• Seats with high backs;

• Seats filled with energy-absorbing material;

• Seats placed close together to form compartments; and

• Strong seat anchorages.

The Official Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Driver’s Handbook identifies – You must stop whenever you approach a stopped school bus with its upper alternating red lights flashing, regardless of whether you are behind the bus or approaching it from the front.

  • When approaching the bus from the front, stop at a safe distance for children to get off the bus and cross the road in front of you.
  • If you are approaching from behind the bus, stop at least 20 metres away.
  • Do not go until the bus moves or the lights have stopped flashing.
  • These rules apply regardless of the posted speed limit and apply to highways, country roads, and city, town and village streets.

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) regulations require school vehicles to be driven by specially trained, licensed drivers. All school vehicles must meet safety standards established by the MTO:

• School vehicles are built with a compartmentalization design. With high backs that are made from impact-absorbing material on the front and back, the seats are designed to minimize injury, should a collision occur. Seats have a strong anchorage and are spaced closely together, creating compartments which disperse the impact of a collision throughout the entire body, as opposed to only the head and neck.

• The size and bright yellow colour make school vehicles very visible.

• The floor is raised, the windows are shatter-proof, and there are strengthened reinforcements along the sides of the bus, all designed to protect passengers from impact.

• The flashing lights and stop arm warn motorists that they must stop for a stopped school vehicle.

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