The New York City Department of Education (DOE) recognizes the significant impact school transportation plays in a student’s day at school; in accordance with Chancellor’s Regulation A-801, students and, where applicable, their families have the following rights to ensure students arrive to school safe and ready to learn.
- Free transportation, based on eligibility, to a New York State DOE-approved school
- A determination of their eligibility for transportation upon school enrollment
- Request a free student MetroCard instead of school bus service if living greater than one-half (1/2) mile from school
- A staff member at their school who can help with transportation concerns and answer questions
- Request and receive transportation information in the family’s preferred language
- Participate in school bus safety drills three times every school year and learn about transportation safety
Using a Student MetroCard
- A free replacement MetroCard if the card is lost, damaged, or stolen
- An additional two-trip MetroCard when requested for school approved activities
- Use the student MetroCard for three trips and three transfers on each day that school is in session; transfer for free from the bus to the subway, from a bus to another bus, or from the subway to the bus
- Assistance from school staff on the appropriate use of a MetroCard or guidance for using mass transit
Receiving School Bus Transportation
- Dependable and timely school bus service
- Travel on a school bus that is properly equipped and inspected for safety, including an inspection by the NYS Department of Transportation performed every six (6) months
- The shortest and safest bus route to minimize travel times to and from school
- Be assigned to the closest available stop for which they are eligible, or request an alternative bus stop due to medical, hazard, or other special circumstances
- Be informed of any changes to their school bus route in a timely manner
- Bus drivers and attendants who are professional, respectful, have met NY State’s special requirements for bus drivers and attendants, have been fingerprinted, and have passed all required background checks performed by the DOE’s Office of Personnel Investigations (OPI)
- School bus staff dressed in an identifiable uniform
- Remain on the bus if at any time they feel departing puts them at risk
- A safe environment free from discrimination, harassment, and bullying; in accordance with Chancellor’s Regulation A-832, any such incidents should be reported to their school’s Respect for All liaison (RFA) or e-mailed to RespectforAll@schools.nyc.gov
- Report any behavioral or safety incident on the school bus to their school for documentation and appropriate follow-up
- File a complaint to initiate an unbiased investigation performed by the appropriate investigatory unit or agency; and timely resolution of any complaints and/or concerns
Receiving Specialized Transportation
Students with disabilities have the same transportation and bus rights as their non-disabled peers, and the right to:
- Transportation as a related service, if stated on their Individual Education Program (IEP)
- Have all medical and other equipment safely secured on the bus
- Be properly secured in their seat using their seatbelt, or be properly and safely secured in their occupant mobility device (e.g., wheelchair, car seat, safety vest)
- Bus drivers and attendants with specialized training on transporting students with disabilities
- A consistent and on-time pickup schedule with telephone communication from the bus company if significant delay is expected
- Advance notification when their transportation eligibility is projected to change
Children with Disabilities in Pre-K and Early Intervention Programs
Children in specialized Pre-K and Early Intervention programs have the same transportation and bus rights as their school age non-disabled peers, the same rights as students receiving specialized transportation, and the right to:
- An approved Child Safety Restraint System (CSRS, car seat or integrated seat) when necessary
- Assistance to be properly secured in the CSRS or bus seat
- An attendant who remains on the bus at all times
Students in Temporary Housing
Per Chancellor’s Regulation A-780, students who are homeless or temporarily housed are eligible for free transportation while they are homeless, through the end of the school year in which they become permanently housed, and for an additional year if the student will be entering the final grade in their school.
- Students in grades K-6 living in shelters are eligible for school bus service, or a student MetroCard if their parent declines school bus service.
- Students in grades K-6 not living in shelters (for example, who are doubled-up) may be eligible for school bus service or for a student MetroCard.
- Preschool students who are temporarily homeless are eligible for school bus service (if an appropriate route exists) or, if they exceed height requirements in MTA regulations to ride for free, will receive a MetroCard.
- Parents/guardians of students in temporary housing 3K- grade 12 who do not receive busing or are in the process of being routed can receive a MetroCard from their child's school to accompany their child to and from school. To request a MetroCard, contact your child’s school.
- Curb-to-school busing is provided to students who are recommended for curb-to-school busing on their IEP or 504 Plan.
Students in Foster Care
Students in foster care have the right to transportation to and from school either by MetroCard or by school bus. Students who are final discharged from foster care are entitled to transportation to their school of origin for the remainder of the school year and for one additional year if the student will be entering the final grade in their school.
- Students in foster care grades K-6 are eligible for school bus service, or a student MetroCard
- Preschool students in foster care are eligible for school bus service (if an appropriate route exists) or, if they exceed height requirements in MTA regulations to ride for free, will receive a MetroCard
- Curb-to-school busing is provided to students who are recommended for curb-to-school busing on their IEP or 504 Plan
- If busing is not available within 10 business days of the foster care agency notifying the school of the child's placement, alternative transportation other than public transportation may be available
- Parents/guardians of students in foster care in grade 3K-12 can receive a MetroCard from their child's school to accompany their child to and from school
- If the DOE has issued a MetroCard but public transportation is not a practical option for the student, the parent or guardian should contact the foster care agency to request alternative transportation
Visit the Office of Pupil Transportation's Contact Information page or the Transportation Overview page for more information.