Transportation Services for 2017 - 2018 School Year

posted Jun 6, 2017, 11:20 AM by Kathleen Power
TO:         OCDSB/OCSB Secondary and Intermediate School Principals, VP and Office Administrators
FROM:    Vicky Kyriaco, General Manager/CAO 
DATE:     June 2, 2017 
RE:         Transportation Services for 2017-2018 School Year 

As the end of another school year rapidly approaches, please note of the following information regarding transportation services for the 2017-2018 school year. We encourage you to include any of this information in newsletters or correspondence to your school community. Feel free to share OSTA’s website address: www.ottawaschoolbus.ca.

2017-18 Student Transportation Information: 
Route information will be available to parents as of August 20, 2017 via the online Parent Portal. Schools may have access to some routes prior to this date, through the school web portal www.ostabusplanner.ottawaschoolbus.ca or via OSTA’s website link to the Parent Portal Log In. 

Student Transportation Information can also be found using the “Stop Finder” located on the main page of our website, which will link to the “BusPlanner - Parent Portal”. The parent must enter the student’s last name, birthdate, school and grade in order to access route and stop information. 

The “Stop Finder” feature returns bus stop and route information for eligible students who are assigned to regular yellow school bus or small school purpose vehicle service, or for students who are assigned to OC Transpo Service. 

OC Transpo route schedules will also be made available through the OSTA website or can be found directly through the OC Transpo website at www.octranspo.com. More information on routes to specific schools can be obtained on OC Transpo’s Quick Planner under High Schools and Middle Schools. 

Small School Purpose Vehicles 
The driver responsible for the route will contact each family directly prior to the first day of school. 

Students with Special Needs – Requests for Accessible Transportation 

Each student requiring special accommodation for transportation, based on a physical, cognitive or emotional disability, should have a “Request for Accessible Transportation” form completed by their parents, signed by the Principal and forwarded to the Spec Ed department. The Spec Ed department will then send the form to OSTA with any appropriate comments that would help us meet the student’s individual needs. 

Any requests for short- or long-term accommodation for medical conditions also require the Request for Accessible Transportation Form” signed by the parents and the principal, and then forwarded to the Superintendent of Special Education and Student Services for approval. A medical note or certificate indicating what needs are being accommodated is required. Please note that accommodation of needs for transportation should also be reflected at the school.

For example, if a student cannot walk x number of meters to school, then should the student be running around in gym, at recess, or during extra-curricular activities? Principals are encouraged to work with the Superintendent to determine how the student’s needs should be accommodated in these cases. 

Transportation for students in a joint custody arrangement and having two homes 

OSTA has developed a new policy & procedure to deliver transportation services to students in a joint custody arrangement and having two homes. An application process and other requirements need to be met for parents to receive this service, and the homes or daycares in question must meet all other eligibility requirements. The deadline for new applications or changes to existing applications for September start up transportation was June 1. Renewals of current schedule calendars (no other changes) are due June 30. All other applications will be reviewed after September 15, and prior to October 1. 

More information can be found on our website: http://www.ottawaschoolbus.ca/policies-procedures/variable-transportation-for-students-ina-joint-custody-arrangement-and-having-two-homes-copy/ 

Applications for Seat Availability 

Students who had been approved to access service under the Seat Availability provision for 2016/17 will need to re-apply for service for the 2017-18 school year. The “Application for Access to Empty Seats on School Bus Vehicles” form is available on the OSTA website at http://www.ottawaschoolbus.ca/policies/empty-seat-provision and should be sent to OSTA directly. All applications will be reviewed and seats assigned after October 1. 

We ask that parents and school staff NOT put students on the bus prior to assignment to a bus route, for the students' own safety.

Transportation Information During the Summer Months 

Please note that the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority will be open during the summer months from 8:00am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday. 

OCDSB parents should contact OSTA directly during the summer months if they have questions about transportation or changes to their children’s address or caregiver information.

OCSB parents should be advised to call the school board’s Summer Registration Centre 613- 224-3171 for changes to home and/or caregiver address. 

OC Transpo Presto SmartCard System 

Many students in grades 9-12 will be assigned an annual Presto pass and must register and replace their own cards (if necessary). A user guide and online information will be made available for students and staff upon distribution of the passes. 

Presto passes for students in grades 7 and 8 will continue to be managed by OSTA and should NOT be registered. Any high school students with special needs or students requiring financial assistance may receive assistance from OSTA providing their school sends us the appropriate request for transportation forms. These Presto passes should NOT be registered. OSTA’s updated Public Transit T7 policy and procedure are available online. 

Presto School Board Passes will be delivered to schools the second week of August. Schools may begin distribution at their earliest convenience and we encourage them to provide computer access so that students may register their cards immediately upon receipt. 

Please encourage students to TAP their cards on the bus, whether they board at the front or via the rear doors on any bus, every time. This helps OC Transpo and OSTA assess the number of riders and the number of buses we need to manage loads on particular routes. More buses means fewer overloads and less waiting for another bus for our students. 

Transportation Information During the Fall

Parents should be advising schools directly of any changes to student home address. Please remind parents that OSTA will require a minimum of three business days to implement a change to transportation services, longer for transportation to two homes in a joint custody situation. During the month of September, we ask for your assistance in advising parents of new transportation information, due to the volume of changes processed through OSTA at the busy start-up period. You may also direct them to the online Parent Portal www.ostabusplanner.ottawaschoolbus.ca to find out more information on their child’s transportation status. 

Students with Life-Threatening Medical Conditions

Please be reminded that three copies of the “Life-threatening Medical Condition Emergency Transportation” forms must be submitted to OSTA by September 30 of each - 4 - year for all students who may require the emergency administration of epinephrine autoinjectors or other emergency medical attention during transportation to or from school. These forms will be processed and sent to the school bus operators. Forms are not to be given directly to the driver or transportation provider by parents and/or guardians or school staff. It is crucial these forms are sent in at a timely manner so that drivers can respond to emergencies effectively.

I trust this information will be of assistance to you as you wrap up your school year. Thank you, in advance, for sharing this information with your school staff and school community. Should you require any clarification on any item, please contact Blyth Helman, Assistant General Manager blyth.helman@ottawaschoolbus.ca or email me at Vicky.kyriaco@ottawaschoolbus.ca. 

Have a great summer!

Vicky Kyriaco
General Manager/CAO
(613) 224-8800 ext 2580

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