Bus Routes and Policies
The Mahtomedi Public Schools Transportation Department serves over 1800 bus stop locations within our 28 square mile community each day. Bus stops and routes are designed with consideration of safety, efficiency, least cost and shortest over-all ride times.
How are bus stops determined?
Bus routing is designed with buses traveling main roads through neighborhoods and with students picked up and dropped off at central locations. Bus stops are located at corners or intersections whenever possible and are usually central to where students are coming from. Some house stops are made on very busy roads or mid-way on long streets. Bus stops will generally be closer to student's houses for younger students. Older students are expected to be able to walk farther to bus stops.
Why are bus stops usually established at corners or intersections?
Bus stops are located at corners for several reasons:
Students are generally taught to cross at corners rather than in the middle of the street.
Traffic controls, such as stoplights or signs are located at corners. This tends to slow down motorists at corners and they tend to be more cautious as they approach intersections. The motoring public generally expects school buses to be stopping at corners rather than individual houses. Impatient motorists are also less likely to pass buses at corners than along a street. Cars passing school buses create the greatest risk to students who are getting on or off the bus.
In the winter, salting and sanding is usually done at corners, providing safer stopping for buses and cars.
Buses use their eight-way light system and stop arm when picking up and dropping off students. Corner stops allow ample time for the driver to activate the yellow warning lights before getting to the stop.
Bus drivers, especially substitutes, can see corner stops much more easily than house numbers so they can keep their focus on their driving. House numbers are located in a variety of places on houses and are often not easily visible from the street, especially in bad weather and before dawn or after dusk.
Ride times for students are shorter if buses are kept on main roads and are not sent down every street. Route changes for new students can be more easily accommodated when stops are at corners. Minimizing stops also reduces costs for fuel as well as wear and tear on the buses.
Other bus stop considerations:
Combinations of the following criteria are also considered when establishing bus stops:
Time of day students are at the stop. Is there rush hour traffic? Volume of traffic on the road. Is the stop on a residential street or a main arterial road?
Length of walk to the stop.
If the street is busy, are there sidewalks to walk on?
Does the child have to cross a busy street to get to the stop?
What is the age of the student?
Does the route require that the bus do a turn-around at the stop location?
Criteria that are not considered requirements for adding a stop or making a house stop:
It is not possible to provide bus stops that are within sight of all student's homes or daycares unless house stops are made for all students. Most families that live even one house from the corner cannot see the corner bus stop without coming out of the house. We do encourage parents to be out at bus stops to promote proper pedestrian and bus stop behavior.
A house stop would not necessarily be made only because the bus goes past a student's house. Many routes travel past student's houses on the way to or from school. The higher frequency of stops made by the bus make the motoring public impatient and cause drivers to drive around the bus causing a greater safety concern then the distance a student must walk to the bus stop.
Likewise, a house stop would not necessarily be made because there is only one student at the stop. Other students may be assigned to the stop, but ride infrequently. Also, stops are made at corners for efficiency and to accommodate other students who may move into the neighborhood.
A bus stop will not be made within a cul de sac. A school bus requires 115 feet to safely turn and cul de sacs usually do not have enough room for safe access; particularly in the winter and when other vehicles are parked in the cul de sac. Going into a cul de sac forces the bus to have to backup and this is an extremely dangerous maneuver we want to avoid.
Weather conditions are not part of the criteria for a bus stop change.
Other routing considerations:
The order of pickup and drop-offs of students is designed to be the most efficient and within the shortest possible time. Students who are first on in the morning will not necessarily be the first off in the afternoon if it is a less efficient way to run the route. In general, the farther students live from school, the longer their bus ride will be.
The length of the bus ride is determined by both the distance from school and the number of stops made. It takes a considerable amount of time to make thirty stops for 50-60 students for example. For this reason, we are making every attempt to minimize the number of bus stops and to keep them at corners.
If, after reading the above information, you would like to request a bus stop change, please download and fill out the Bus Stop Change Request form from the Bus Forms button on the left, and return it to the Transportation Office.
Please include any information about unique or unusual circumstances regarding your child's bus stop. We will review the stop change request and contact you as soon as possible. Please note that bus drivers are not allowed to make bus stop changes without approval from the Transportation Office.
Bus stop changes are not made during the first three weeks of school except to accommodate new students moving into the district or those making daycare changes.
As stated earlier, our goal is to create routes and bus stops that are as safe and efficient as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office at 651-407-2431.