The Department of Education frequently receives questions pertaining to the transportation of school students.
Q. Are school districts required to transport students?
A. With the exception of charter school students, Pennsylvania law does not
require a school district to provide transportation to its students.
Q. When does a school district have to provide transportation to a charter
A. The law requires school districts to provide transportation to resident
students attending a charter school "on such dates and periods that the
charter school is in regular session" if:
The charter school is located within the school district, or
The charter school is located not more than ten miles by the nearest
public highway beyond the school district boundary, or
The charter school is a regional charter school in which the school
Q. When a school district provides transportation, who is responsible?
A. The board of directors of a school district is responsible for all aspects of pupil
transportation programs. The school board may ask their solicitor (an
attorney) to interpret educational laws and regulations for them.
Q. How long may a child be required to ride on a bus?
A. This is a local decision (based on geography, population distribution, etc.).
There are no time limits set by law or regulations.
Q. How far may a child be asked to walk to a school bus stop?
A. The law allows a school district to ask a child, regardless of age, to walk
up to a mile and a half to a bus stop. The mile and a half is measured by
public roads and does not include any private lane or walkway of the
Q. May a fee be charged to pupils who ride a school vehicle?
A. No. Section 1361 of the School Code states that when a school district
provides transportation to its students, it is to be free and paid for out of
school district funds. Additionally, Section 1365 prohibits districts from
demanding, requesting or accepting compensation for transporting students.
Q. I think the road my child has to walk along is hazardous. What can I
A. The law provides for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to
review potentially hazardous walking routes. The request for this review
must be made by the school district to the local PennDOT engineering
district office. PennDOT regulations do not address hazards other than
road or traffic conditions. The local district may assess conditions such
as bad neighborhoods, secluded wooded areas, snow removal, etc.,
when developing transportation routes.
Q. I think the bus my child rides on is overloaded. What can I do?
A. Address your concern to the school district. All questions relating to
school vehicle regulations, such as seating, aisle clearance, warning
devices, etc., should be addressed to the Pupil Transportation Section
of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at (717) 787-6453.
Q. May a school district suspend busing services for a child?
A. Yes. Transportation is a privilege, not a right.
Q. When does a school district have to provide transportation to a
A. When a school district provides transportation for its public pupils, it must
provide transportation services to nonpublic pupils of the same grade level
that it is providing for its own pupils. The nonpublic school must be nonprofit
and located within ten miles of the district’s boundary, measured by the
nearest public road. If the school building in which the pupil is enrolled
is not located within the ten-mile distance, the nonpublic pupil is not eligible
for transportation, nor are his parents eligible for payment towards
Q. Is the local school district that transports my child to a nonpublic
school required to transport her on days when the nonpublic school
is in session and the public school is closed?
A. Yes, unless the closure is due to weather conditions.
Q. May a school district ask a child going to a nonpublic elementary
school to ride on a vehicle with public high school students?
Q. If the teachers are on strike, must the school district still provide
transportation for eligible nonpublic pupils to their schools?
Q. Must transportation be provided for exceptional children?
A. Transportation must be provided as required by a child’s individualized
education program (IEP). An intermediate unit may provide this
transportation for the school district.
Q. What can I do about transportation problems such as (1) the bus was
late, (2) the bus never came, (3) the bus stop location seems
dangerous, (4) the bus driver is speeding, and (5) another child hit
my child on the bus?
A. You must work with your school district to address such problems.
Q. Does the state provide funds for pupil transportation?
A. Yes. On a statewide average, the pupil transportation subsidy covers
approximately half of a school district's transportation costs.
Q. Which school district is responsible for transporting a homeless