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644 Pleasant Street | Belmont, MA 02478
phone: 617 - 993 - 5400

Busing Program for 2018-2019 and Beyond

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New This Year

Each year, we evaluate the busing program for students in the town of Belmont so as to identify any areas upon which we can improve for the following year. We take into consideration key factors such as enrollment, current ridership, resource availability, vehicle traffic and pick-up/arrival times across each of the six schools in the district. Our goal has always been, and remains, the safe and timely pick-up and delivery of each student riding the bus.

We recently conducted a thorough examination of our current busing methodology and found we could improve on those areas mentioned above while factoring in the year over year increase in enrollment as well as the increased demand for bus services from various areas of Belmont.

As a result, we have strategically reconfigured bus routes with fewer, more centralized stops beginning with the 2018-2019 school year.

What does that mean for students and parents/guardians? 

We anticipate these changes will result in the following benefits:

  • Decreasing travel time in town by way of fewer stops per route; in some cases more than 50% fewer stops than the 2017-2018 bus routes 
  • Prompt morning and afternoon delivery times 
  • Minimal annual changes to routes which promotes consistency and ease of understanding as well as ease in planning for parents/guardians and students  

What changes can students and parents/guardians expect?

  • Stops will be centralized within neighborhoods at a walkable distance for students from their homes 
  • Drivers are assigned to specific areas of town which will alleviate the cross-town traffic endured on our current routes

Re-configuring the routes in this manner gives us the opportunity to provide service at a higher level for all students registered to ride the bus each year.  

We recognize that in some areas of town, there is an absence of sidewalks on various streets. We modified those routes to centralize stops as well, but to a slightly lesser degree ensuring each child’s safety when walking to and from their bus stop. As always, the expectation remains that students in grades K-2 will be accompanied by an adult both to and from their bus stop. In the areas where sidewalks are abundant, we have assertively condensed stops and altered the routes for easier navigation through heavy traffic times during the day while maintaining the safety of our students.

We encourage parents/guardians and students to review the new routes posted via the links above in the Busing and Payment Information box. Routes are posted by school. Students may wait at any bus stop on their assigned route based on the most convenient to their home.

Please contact the Business Office at busing@belmont.k12.ma.us with any questions.

School Bus Registration

The deadline for bus registration is July 13th. The primary parent/guardian for each student will receive an email with instructions for completing the required online registration. Parents/guardians who need to register their children for busing may request that the registration link be resent to the primary parent/guardian on the student’s school record by filling out the form found here.

Registrations are considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Whenever possible, students will be placed on the bus. Registrations completed after July 13th will be placed on a waiting list pending availability. Parents/guardians are strongly encouraged to register students before the deadline to ensure a seat on the bus.

If you require a fee wavier, please do not make a payment. Instead, view the Fee Waiver instructions here.

The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are provided and answered to note changes in busing operations. These procedures affect regular day bus transportation. They do not affect any transportation specified in a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Registration

Q:When do I register my child for busing?

Parents/guardians will receive an email on June 4th with a registration link for their child. Registration must be submitted by July 13th. Seating is not guaranteed for any student registered after July 13th.

Q:How do I register my child for busing?

All busing registrations must be done online. Parents/guardians will receive an email on June 4th with a registration link for their child. The registration form must be filled out in order to make the required half-year payment. 

Please note that the registration link is sent only to the primary parent listed in the student’s record.

Q: I registered my child for the bus last year. Do I need to register him/her again?

Yes, you must register your child every year for the school bus. Registrations do not roll over from year to year. If your child needs busing, please complete the registration based on the link and instructions sent to you in the beginning of June.

Q:The busing registration deadline has passed. Can I still register my child for busing for the start of school?

You must complete the online registration process; however, your child may be placed on a wait-list pending availability. Please be advised as a result of registering after the deadline, there is no guarantee of a bus stop near your home, available seating, or bus service in the area of town in which you reside.

Parents are strongly encouraged to register their children before the deadline to ensure a seat for you child.

Q:I would like my child to start busing later in the school year. Is this permitted?

Yes, you may complete the online registration at the time you would like your child to begin riding the bus. Please be advised there is no guarantee of a bus stop near your home, available seating, or bus service for the area of town in which you reside. If your child’s busing requires a fee, a prorated amount will be calculated based on the first day of busing and number of days remaining in the school year.

Q:Can I register my child to ride the bus for only three days per week?

Student registration covers the full week. Parents/guardians are free to make other arrangements for their child’s transportation to or from school at any time during the week; however, no discount will be provided if a student does not ride the bus five days per week.

Q:Can I register my child to ride the bus only in the morning or only in the afternoon?

Yes, you may designate morning, afternoon, or both during the online registration process. The annual fee for one-way busing (morning OR afternoon) is $287.50, which is half the annual fee of $575.00.

Fees

Q:I think my child may be eligible for free busing, based on income or grade. Do I still need to complete the online registration process?

Yes, all students in need of bus transportation must complete the online registration process. Any student for whom an online application is not submitted will not be permitted to ride the bus. If a student is found riding the bus without a pass, they will not be allowed to ride the bus again until a pass has been issued by the Business Office.

Q:How much does it cost to ride the bus?

The annual bus fee per student is $575.00. For students in grades kindergarten through 6 who live 2.0 miles or more from their assigned school, busing is free. All students who live less than 2.0 miles from their assigned school are required to pay the busing fee. Students in grades 7-12 are responsible for their bus fee regardless of distance to the school. All students requiring bus service, regardless of grade or distance from school, must register for busing online.

Q:Are fee waivers available?

Yes, financial waivers are granted based on household size and income. To request a waiver, fill out the Fee Waiver Application found here: Fee Waiver Application

You must send the completed form with a copy of last year’s federal tax return (Form 1040) to:

Belmont Public Schools
C/O Business Office - Busing
644 Pleasant Street
Belmont, MA 02478

You may also fax your paperwork to 617-993-5439. For security reasons, please do not email your tax information to the Business Office. Waivers will be reviewed confidentially.

Q:How do I pay for my child's bus fee?

You may pay for your child’s bus fee in one of two ways:

Online through the MCC payment portal – You may access the payment portal via the Belmont Public Schools website. If you are new to the portal, you will need to create a login. You will also need your child’s Student ID number. If you do not have the ID, you may request it via email to busing@belmont.k12.ma.us. If your student is new to the school and not found in the online system, you may inquire via the same email above for assistance. *Please note that students are assessed the bus fee in full in the amount of $575.00. If you are required to pay any other amount, you will place the fee in your cart and before paying, the system will allow you to change the dollar amount to match the fee you owe. If you owe any dollar amount less than the full fee of $575, disregard the remaining balance feature in MCC as the calculation will not accurately reflect what you owe for the second semester.

By check or money order – Checks should be made payable to Belmont Public Schools and mailed to:

Belmont Public Schools
C/O Business Office
644 Pleasant Street
Belmont, MA 02478

Please be sure to include the child’s name on the check to ensure proper credit to the student’s account.

*The Business Office does not accept cash.

Distance & Availability

Q:For students in grades K-6, how is the distance to school determined?

Distance is determined by the Business Office using the most commonly traveled route provided by Google Maps.*

* Previously, Mapquest was used to determine students’ distance to their assigned school but after evaluation, was proven inconsistent in its results. For all students in kindergarten through grade 6 who were measured at 2.0 miles or greater through the end of the 2016-2017 school year via Mapquest, your distance will be grandfathered provided you remain at your current address and/or until your child begins the 7th grade, at which time you are required to pay the bus fee regardless of distance to the school. Should you move within the town to a different address, the distance from your home to your assigned school will be re-evaluated via Google Maps.

Q:Is a school bus available for my child no matter where in Belmont I live?

As busing resources are limited, there are portions of town which are not serviced by school buses. This does not apply to students in grades K-6 who live 2.0 miles or more from school, as previously mentioned. You may email the Business Office at busing@belmont.k12.ma.us with inquiries regarding bus availability in your area.

Q:If my child is assigned to a school outside of my district, is busing available?

If your child is assigned to a school outside of your district, busing is available based on the following:

  • If your assigned school is over 2.0 miles from your address, busing is provided at no charge 
  • If your assigned school is less than 2.0 miles from your address, seating may be available on a first come, first serve basis for a fee (see the Fees section of the Frequently Asked Questions)

A bus route comprised of centralized stops offers students the ability to walk to the closest stop to them if under 2.0 miles from their address. Once the bus reaches capacity, busing will no longer be available for those students less than 2.0 miles from their assigned school.

Q:If I request that my child attend a school outside of my district, is busing available?

If parents/guardians request that their child attend a school other than the school within their district, and their request is granted, busing is not available. Parents/guardians will be responsible for their child’s transportation to and from their newly assigned school.

Bus Routes & Stops

Q:Why have the bus routes changed?

Bus routes have changed as of the 2018-2019 school year for various reasons:

  • Vastly growing population and enrollment in Belmont
  • The volume of vehicle traffic during school drop-off times
  • The resources available to bus the number of enrolled students requesting bus service

In an effort to offer busing to as many students as possible while minimizing delays and navigating obstacles within the routes, we have created a geographically focused method of busing students throughout the town to their respective schools. We feel this will maximize the resources we have and provide the level of efficiency necessary to deliver students safely and on time each day.

Q:Where will my child’s bus stop be?

Routes are posted on the School Department’s website here. Students may board the bus at the stop most convenient to their homes provided it is on the student’s assigned route.

Q:Can I or my child change which bus he/she rides?

No, only students registered for busing with a valid pass may ride a school bus. Your child must ride only the school bus to which he/she is assigned. Neither parents/guardians nor students may unilaterally decide to ride a different bus for any reason, even if a different bus route is close to the student’s home address. Other than a change in residence within Belmont by the child and family, requests to change bus assignments are not granted as bus stops are already established and adding students could be disruptive.

Q:Can the afternoon bus drop off my child at daycare, a friend’s home, or at a grandparent’s home?

No, students can only be dropped off at an assigned stop on their bus route. At the parent's/guardian's discretion, students may exit the bus at a different stop already established on their assigned bus route.

Bus Passes

Q:Does my child need a bus pass to ride the bus?

Bus passes are not issued for elementary students. Bus rosters are maintained by the main office at each elementary school. Bus passes are required for middle and high school students. Students must be ready to display passes to the driver or other staff as they board or exit the bus. Students are required to ride the bus corresponding to the number on their pass. Any student attempting to board a bus without a pass or with a pass for another bus will be refused bus service and will not be allowed to ride the bus again until a pass has been issued by the Business Office.

Q:When and how will I receive my child’s bus pass?

Your child’s bus pass will be mailed to your home before school begins provided we have received your payment for the first semester. Bus passes are issued for both the first and second semesters. A reminder will be sent prior to the due date for the second semester. Bus passes will not be mailed until payment due is received by the Business Office. If your child no longer requires busing for the second semester, we ask that you notify the Business Office so that the student can be removed from the bus and payment lists. Students must have their second semester bus pass in order to continue riding the bus. 

*Please be advised that bus privileges may be revoked due to late or non-payment of bus fees.

Q:How do I replace a lost pass?

Please email busing@belmont.k12.ma.us to request a replacement pass. Replacement passes are provided at no cost.

Busing Protocols

Q:How many students are assigned to a bus?

Generally, not more than 60 students are assigned to a bus. 60 students means that 21 of the 27 bench seats on the bus will need to seat three students. Slightly greater or fewer than 60 students may be assigned to a bus depending on three-to-a-seat availability.

Q:What happens if I am not able to be at the bus stop in the afternoon to receive my child?

Parents/guardians are expected to be at the afternoon bus stop to receive their children in grades K-2. Any children in grades K-2 who are not received by a parent/guardian or other adult known to the child will not be permitted to exit the bus. They will be returned to their school at the end of the bus route, where the school’s main office will contact parents. Students in grades K-2 are permitted to exit the bus with an older sibling in grades 3 or higher. Students in grades 3-12 are permitted to exit the bus if no parent/guardian is there to receive them.

Q:Can someone else receive my children at the bus stop in the afternoon if I cannot be there?

You may assign a responsible adult to receive your child at their afternoon bus stop as long as the adult is known to your child. Groups of parents/guardians may arrange among themselves for one or more parents/guardians from a neighborhood to receive all of the children at a certain bus stop in the afternoon. Students in grades K-2 will be permitted to exit the bus if they have an older sibling in grade 3 or higher that is also on the bus at that time.

Q:What is the protocol for busing during inclement weather?

During the winter months, we sometimes experience busing delays during periods of inclement weather. Our current protocol is to email all parents/guardians of bus students the day prior in an effort to raise awareness regarding potential delays on bus routes to all schools. Knowing that delays are likely, parents/guardians can then make an informed decision to either wait for the bus or drive students to school. Parents/guardians should furnish their updated contact email as part of their child’s registration record to ensure that all communications are received promptly.

Q:My child lost something. What should I do?

If your child leaves an item on the bus, they should retrieve the item from the bus driver on the next ride. The school department cannot track lost items so please make sure that you child understands that he or she is responsible for keeping personal items in their backpacks or on their person. If you have a question regarding a lost item, you may contact Eastern Bus directly at 617-628-6868.

Q:What is expected of students when riding the bus?

  • Students are to have bus passes in-hand or attached to a backpack so that passes are visible to the bus driver. Students must be ready to display bus passes to the driver as they board the bus. 
  • Students must also present bus passes to Belmont Public Schools staff when directed. 
  • Students are to enter the bus and sit in an open seat. Students may not stand while the bus is in motion. 
  • Student belongings such as backpacks or other items cannot occupy another seat on the bus. 
  • Students are to be on their best behavior, in the same manner in which they are expected to conduct themselves while they are in school.

Please review the full list of Busing Protocols found here.

Q:What are the expectations for parents/guardians whose children ride the bus?

  • Parents/guardians are expected to ensure that students are at their bus stops in the morning, prior to the bus’ arrival. 
  • For students in grades K-2, a parent/guardian or designated adult known to the student must receive the child at the bus stop. 
  • For students in grades K-2 whose bus stop is at their residence, parents/guardians are expected to be clearly visible to the bus driver at the time the school bus is approaching the stop. Examples include parents/guardians standing outside, in front of their home, or standing in the doorway to the home with the door open. When a parent/guardian does not make his/her presence visibly known to the bus driver, the driver is required to wait for the student to walk on to the property until he/she actually enters the home. This process delays the bus route and prolongs the time all remaining children spend on the bus before reaching their stops.

Q:How are student behavior issues related to busing addressed?

For any student whose behavior is found inappropriate while riding the bus, the bus driver will complete a report and submit it to the school principal for disciplinary action. Discipline may include temporary suspension or permanent revocation of bus privileges.

Q:How do I communicate questions or concerns about busing?

For any questions or concerns regarding busing issues that occur on the property of your child’s school building, contact your school principal. To report any vehicles failing to stop for school buses when their flashing stop lights are engaged, contact the Belmont Police Department at 617-993-2500. For all other busing matters, email busing@belmont.k12.ma.us.







Contact Us

  • Administration: 617-993-5400
  • High School: 617-993-5900 
  • Chenery Middle School: 617-993-5800 
  • Butler School: 617-993-5550 
  • Burbank School: 617-993-5500 
  • Wellington School: 617-993-5600 
  • Winn Brook School: 617-993-5700
  • BPS Webmaster: send email
 
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