FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

  • Adding a stop - New stops are added after the first 10 days of school. The reason we must wait for 10 days is that we have already advertised pickup and drop off times for other students. If you would like to request a new stop, please contact and submit your request to the Routing Dept. This is not a guarantee that it will be approved. Some of the criteria considered are:

    • Proximity to nearest stop
    • Safety of the requested location
    • Number of students impacted
    • How the new stop will impact the bus time of other students

    Closer Stop - If there are two stops near your home going to your school, you may choose either stop. Your child must use the same stop morning and afternoon. Once you have selected a stop, your child will be registered at that stop and will be expected to board the bus at that stop only.

    Wants an Earlier Stop - Our routes are based upon efficient routing schemes. We cannot adjust the times to accommodate daycare/after school needs. If our times do not work for you, may we suggest looking into before/after school care programs at your school?

    Wants to Move a Stop
    Students may walk up to 1½ miles to get to a bus stop. You can request the stop be moved at the beginning of the school year. Your request will not be considered for 10 days. Submitting a request does not guarantee that it will be approved. Some of the criteria considered are:

    • Proximity to nearest stop
    • Safety of the requested location
    • Number of students impacted
    • How the new stop will impact the bus time of other students

    Afternoon Pickup @ Stop
    Kindergarten and 1st grade students will not be released off of the school bus unless the parent/designee is present. If the parent/designee is not at the stop, the bus operator will take other students home and will make a second attempt to deliver the child, if the route allows. If it does not or if the parent/designee is not at the stop the second time, the child will be returned to the school. Designee may be a sibling, grandparent, etc. The parent must communicate this information in writing to the Transportation Department AHEAD OF time. The request will be reviewed and approved by Transportation.

    Parents may give permission in writing to the bus operator allowing the Kindergarten or 1st grade student to be released with a sibling or to walk home alone. 
    All Exception Student Education(ESE) students must be received at the afternoon bus stop, unless prior arrangements have been made.
    All 2nd through 12th grade students will be released at the afternoon bus stop.

    Inclement Weather
    Bus Operators will keep students on the bus if there is thunder and lightning in the immediate area, or any other type of weather threat that may harm a student. Once the weather permits the operator will release the students.
    Bus Registration
    Students may ride the bus in the morning and afternoon. They may also opt to only ride morning or afternoon. Students do not have to ride every day to remain on the roster; however, they must ride at least once a week to prevent having their name removed and having to complete a new registration. To have your child registered on the bus, simply have your child at the bus stop in the morning. The bus operator will pick up your child and give your child a registration card for you to fill out. Please return the card the next day and your child will be registered on the bus. Please note: In order for a student to ride the bus they must be registered at school.
    AM - No students will be left behind at a morning bus stop. They will be transported to school and left with a school official.

    PM - Students can only ride the bus in the afternoon if they are registered at school.

    Choice Busing
    Provided for students who applied through the Office of Student Assignment (formerly the Parent Information Center (PIC). Students who received a Hardship transfer to a school are not eligible for transportation. Please contact the Parent Information Center so that you may speak with a representative concerning your Choice options. Most High school Choice students do not receive bus transportation. The only transportation provided is for the IB program at Southeast High School.

    HUB Busing 
    Designed to provide centralized bus stops that allow for choice transportation throughout Manatee County to a designated Choice school. HUB stops are designed for parents to transport their child to the stop and may not be within walking distance. Most HUB stops are in public places and are easy for parents to get to. The purpose of the HUB stops is to allow for less travel time on the bus for the student, as the bus makes fewer stops. HUB busing is provided for Wakeland Elementary, Johnson Middle, and Southeast High IB.

    All buses are equipped with multiple cameras that record all video and audio activity while the bus is in operation.

    All school buses are equipped with a two-way radio system to enable efficient communication with the Transportation department staff.

    Seat Belts
    All school buses are equipped with lap belts and students are instructed to wear them at all times while the bus is in motion.

    Band Instruments
    Students may bring band instruments on the bus as long as they can be held in their lap or between their legs and not protrude into the aisle or another student’s space.

    Large Projects
    As long as the project will fit in the student’s lap or between the student’s legs, it will be permitted. Large projects cannot contain materials that could be harmful to other students such as hazardous liquids, glass or other sharp items, etc.

    Late Buses
    When the Dispatch department is made aware that a bus is running at least 15 minutes late, a message will be sent to all parents of students who are registered on the bus. The message will give an estimated time of arrival. Please note that your contact information must remain current with the school in order to receive the automated messages. If the bus arrives to school late, Dispatch will notify the office at the school of the late arrival. The school will be requested to hold breakfast for the late students, if possible. Students will not be marked tardy due to their bus being late.

    Overcrowded Buses
    Our buses are designed to accommodate three (3) passengers per seat. However, if the passengers are in the aisles or if there is not a seat for every student, bus operators will not move the bus. The bus operator will notify Dispatch and another bus will be sent to transport excess students; and the first bus will remain at the stop with students until the overflow bus arrives unless the overflow occurs at the school. The students will then be left with an administrator.

    Teen Parent
    Transportation for a teenage parent begins by picking up the parent and the baby/toddler. The child is delivered to the daycare. Then the parent is taken on to school. In the afternoon, the parent is picked up first and then the child is picked up from the daycare and they are delivered to their home bus stop. Bus stops may be as much as 1 ½ miles from the home. Teenage parents are transported to school along with their child. To receive transportation, the parent must contact Dusty McCauley at (941)753-0958.

    Different AM/PM Stops
    All students are assigned to one stop only. Different morning and afternoon stops are not allowed.

    Two Mile Rule
    Transportation is provided for students who are attending their zoned school and who live more than two miles away. Ask the parent if they live more than two miles from the school. If so, check to see if the child has been assigned to a bus. If not, send to a level two operator. The State of Florida Departmentof Education has determined that less than two miles is considered a reasonable walking distance, and will not provide funding for students to be picked up in this area. (If the parent has concerns about hazardous walking conditions, transfer to a level three operator.) Here is a link to the actual Florida statue. 



    Q. How do I contact the Transportation Department?
    Call 941-782-1BUS (941-782-1287)

    Q. What time should my child be at the bus stop waiting for bus pick-up?
    You should have your child waiting at the bus stop 10 minutes prior to the scheduled pick-up time.

    Q. Why can’t my child go home on a different bus with their friend?
    Your child is assigned to one bus only.

    Q. What are the school times?
    Click here to view school hours for the District.

    Q. Why is my child not eligible for bus service if I am less than 2 miles from the school?
    Florida statute states that this is a reasonable walking distance for a student to their school.

    Q. I have a child with special needs, who has transportation already arranged and I have questions or concerns. Whom do I speak with?
    Contact the Transportation ESE Coordinator, Sandra Marines at (941) 708-8800 x44213.

    Q. Should I remain at the bus stop if my child’s bus is running late?
    Yes, you should remain at the stop. You may call the transportation office at (941) 782-1287 to get the bus’ ETA if it’s more than 15 minutes late.

    Q. Will I receive a message if my child’s bus is running late?
    If the bus is running over 15 minutes late, a message will be sent out. Please insure that the school has your correct telephone information, otherwise you will not receive the automated messages.

    Q. If my child has left an item on the bus, how do I get the item returned to my child?
    Normally the driver will secure any items that they find after their route. The next time they ride the bus, your child should ask the driver if they found their item.

    Q. What is The Office of Student Assignment?
    The Office of Student Assignment is the registration information center for the School District of Manatee County public schools. They provide information about School Choice. Their phone number is (941) 708-4971. The address is 1400 1st Ave East, Palmetto, Florida 34221.

    Q. If my child is out of his or her district/School Choice, do they have bus service for high school?
    No, Choice high school is not provided bus service.

    Q. If my child is out of his or his district/School Choice, do they have bus service for elementary and middle school?
    If you meet the criteria for busing, you will have bus service. All questions and requests for Choice transportation are handled by the Office of Student Assignment at (941)708-4971.

    Q. Why can’t I just put my child on a bus that I see stopping in my neighborhood?
    That bus may be assigned to a different school than your child attends. You will need to call the Transportation Department to get your child’s correct bus number and bus stop.

    Q. How do I get my child registered on a bus?
    Once your child is registered at school the Transportation department will receive your address information and assign your child to the correct bus. When your child boards the bus they will be given a registration card by the driver. Please complete this card and have them return it back to the driver. Your child is now registered on that bus.

    Q. I have recently moved and I want to have my child ride the bus today. I do not have transportation to get him to and from school.
    In order for your child to be assigned to a bus, their address information must be updated at the school. Once that happens, Transportation can assign them to the correct bus. When your child boards the bus they will be given a registration card by the driver. Please complete this card and have them return it back to the driver. Your child is now registered on that bus. A bus assignment is unable to be processed until the student’s address information is updated in the school database.

    Q. Why is the bus late the first week of school?
    The buses may run late due to making sure that no students are left behind and to insure that all students are on the correct buses.

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