Getting kids to school is challenging. Not only will you need to get your child enrolled which requires doing lots of paperwork and getting his or her vaccination record, but you will also need to provide transportation to and from school. Most parents drive their kids to school, but some parents would rather their children get to school by school bus. It should be noted that only elementary school children can use school transportation to get to school. Since my younger son goes to school by school bus, I will tell you how to apply for school bus pass and share some insider tips on doing it right.
I do understand that the process of enrolling a child to school and applying for a school bus pass can differ from state to state, so everything I say is true about the state of California.
When Should I Apply for a Bus Pass?
So, the first tip I can give to parents who want to apply for a bus pus is to do in early in July. If you apply in early or mid-August the chances are that your child's bus pass will not be read by the beginning of the school year. Some schools may allow your kid to take a bus without a pass for some period of time, but only if your kid used the school bus the previous year too and your child's data is in the system.
How to Apply for a School Bus Pass?
Ask your local school staff about how to reach the transportation company and apply. I checked Irvine Unified School District Transportation website and applied online. If you have any questions, you may call them and clarify the details. You can choose transportation services during the 1st term, 2nd term or both, as well as select whether you need one way or two-way trips. It's convenient to have such a flexibility and a variety of options. It costs $100 a term to get to school and $200 if you opt for a two-way transportation. If you need school bus transportation for 2 terms, then you will have to pay maximum $400 a year to take your child from home to school and from school back home later that day.
How to Apply for a Reduced or Free Bus Pass?
In this case it's better to begin with the phone call first. Since I was eligible for a free bus pass, I called the school transportation company directly. I was told to fill in the application form and they send me by email another form to be filled. Plus, I had to provide information concerning the benefits I receive and then wait for the decision. Since I applied in the late August my application form was among those to be the last to consider. Worrying that I might not get the bus pass at all I called them again and asked to streamline the process. To my surprise, the employee checked my application right away and approved it the same day. So, make sure you contact the school bus transportation company to enquire about the reasons of the delay. This will increase your chances of getting your kid's bus pass in time.
Is It Safe for 1st Graders to Use the School Transportation?
Many parents have concerns about whether it's safe to let the 1st grader use the school bus. Many parents fear that the child may get off at the wrong stop and get lost. I also was afraid of that, so I took my son to school by car for the first two weeks, then I got him to take the bus to school and drove him back home for a week. At the end of this week he asked me himself to get to school and back home from school by bus. He felt responsible for his actions and seemed to become even more confident. There is always a company of friends in the bus, so it's really fun there, and you are never alone.
In addition, I must point out that the school bus driver is also responsible for the kid's safety. She checks the students on her list every day in the morning and in the afternoon. When it comes to our school driver she knows every child in her bus by then name and keeps an eye on each of them. When it comes to the bus route our bus makes only two stops on the way to school, so the chances that your child might get lost are minimum.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using School Transportation?
The advantages are obvious: you save time by not driving your child to school and back from school. Getting your child using school transportation is vital if you have another kids or a small baby and can't leave the other child alone. It's much more convenient to take your kid to the bus right near your home and then meet him there when he comes back home. Imagine, if you have two kids who study at different schools and they need to be at school at the same time, plus add the time you need to spend to get to work and you will realize how difficult it might be sometimes to manage all this.
As for disadvantages of taking the school bus I know about none.