Starting school is a very exciting time in both a parent’s and a child’s life. It is also a time when there are many new things to get used to and lots of questions about how things work. We hope this information will answer some of your questions about the transportation of your child to school.
Niagara Student Transportation Services (NSTS) is a consortium between the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) and the Niagara Catholic District School Board (NCDSB). Our goal at NSTS is to provide safe, efficient and on-time transportation services, allowing your child to arrive at school ready to learn and return home safely at the end of their day. We are responsible for the safe transportation of 32,000 students daily with the help of contracted services from school bus and taxi operators.
DSBN and NCDSB Transportation Policies stipulate that students in Junior and Senior Kindergarten must be at least 800 metres from their home school to be eligible for transportation.
NEW Once a newly registered Kindergarten student’s address is determined eligible for service, NSTS will automatically assign transportation and parents will need to notify NSTS of the family’s intention to use the service. New process for Kindergarten students registering for the 2018-19 school year:
As students advance grade levels, the distance for eligibility increases for students attending their home school to 1,600 metres for grades 1 to 8 and 2,500 metres for students in grades 9 to 12.
- In early July you will receive a letter from NSTS at the mailing address you provided to the school when registering your child for Kindergarten indicating that your child is eligible for transportation.
- This letter will provide instructions to sign-in to the secure parent portal on the NSTS website.
- In the parent portal, you will be required to express your intent to use the transportation services NSTS has arranged for your Kindergarten student prior to the first day of school.
- Alternately, you may call (905-346-0290) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) NSTS to express your intent to use the transportation arranged for your Kindergarten student prior to the first day of school.
Bus Stop Locations
In general, pick-up and drop-off locations are designated at central points. Central bus stops are typically located within 400 metres of a student’s residence. A house bus stop may be provided if a student is not physically able to access the central bus stop.
Change of Address
NSTS automatically downloads student records from the school. If you change your address or change daycare providers, please update your child’s information with your school so transportation can be arranged accordingly.
One Bus Stop Morning and Afternoon
To ensure the safety of your child, students may only have one pick-up and one drop-off location. The pick-up location may be different from the drop-off location, but each must be consistent 5 days a week. The reason for this policy is a consistent schedule eliminates the chance of a mistake being made by one of the many people responsible for the safe transportation of your child.
Notification of Arrangements
By mid-August new Kindergarten students who are eligible for transportation services will receive a letter via mail from NSTS. This letter will include instructions on how to access your child’s transportation through the NSTS website. It is important to verify this information to ensure that we have assigned your child correctly to transportation.
We are Open All Summer
NSTS plans the transportation routes during the summer months for each school year. We are not authorized to accept address change information from a source other than the school; however, if you notify us of a change in address we will ensure that the bus stop will be ready for you when your child’s information is updated when the schools re-open in late-August.
First Ride Program
Many children entering Kindergarten have never been on a school bus. It is important that your child learns the proper safety rules of riding a school bus from an expert: their bus driver. Together with our bus operators, we offer the “First Rider Program” to teach new students the proper way to ride a bus as well as the safety precautions needed on and off the bus. The First Rider Program is offered at the Pen Centre every August. You may also ask your school Principal if they will offer this program at the school.
Sharp Bus Lines will be offering the First Ride program this year at the Pen Centre Saturday, August 24, 2019 from 10 am to 4 pm and Sunday, August 25, 2019 from 11 am to 3 pm. The location for First Ride will be in the Pen Centre parking lot, near the movie theatre.
Parents wishing to attend this event are encouraged to book an appointment time with NSTS directly via email, email@example.com, or by phone, 905-357-6787.
First Ride Video
If you are not able to attend this event, a First Ride Video is to support initial training of Kindergarten students, or providing a refresher mid-year. When complete, there is a Buzzy the Bee Safety Certificate
Must Be Met at Stop
A very important safety practice we have in place to ensure student safety is that a parent/guardian must be with a Kindergarten student at the bus stop. This is mandatory while your child is in their Kindergarten years. The school will equip your Kindergarten student with a “Must be Met at Stop Tag” on the first day of school and it is a parental responsibility to ensure this tag is available and visible to the bus driver.
The bus driver is required to deliver your child directly to the person waiting for him or her. While the inside of a bus is one of the safest ways to travel, the outside of the bus has blind spots and danger zones where smaller children can be out of the driver’s view. We feel that when an adult meets a child, the risk of the child not being seen is greatly reduced. An adult can also offer positive reinforcement of safety practices that can be forgotten by small children.
There may be times during the school year where it may be necessary to cancel student transportation services due to adverse weather conditions. Please familiarize yourself with this procedure and the modes of communication available to receive the latest information on student transportation cancellations and or school closures. Please note that parents or guardians make the final decision on whether or not to send their child to school during inclement weather conditions.
We are here to support the transition of your child to Kindergarten. Please visit our website, www.nsts.ca, for helpful information. The website includes web application where you can enter an address and school to determine if your child is eligible for transportation. Alternately, you can reach us by phone 905 346-0290 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.