Frequently Asked Transportation Questions
R.J. Rhodes Transit Inc. provides contracted transportation services for the Ambridge Area School District.
You can visit Rhode’s website at: http://www.rhodestransit.com/
R.J. Rhodes Transit Inc Contact Number: 724-266-4322
Bus stop change/addition requests should be made using the on-line "Bus Stop Change/Addition" request form. This form collects the necessary information to review requests. Other concerns and questions are best submitted using the on-line "Contact Us" form. Many frequently asked questions are addressed on this web page.
Non-Public and Private Schools
Will the district transport my K-12 child to a non-public or private school? Yes, if the school is state licensed with non-profit status and is not beyond 10 miles.
What if the school district has a bad weather delay or cancellation? Bus transportation follows the Ambridge Area School District Schedule. Please check the Ambridge Area web site at https://www.Ambridge.k12.pa.us
What about when the non-public or private school has an early dismissal? The district coordinates calendars with non-public and private schools. There may be days when transportation is not provided for non-public and private school early dismissals. Please contact your child's school with calendar questions.
What about when the non-public or private school announces a weather delay and the school district doesn't? In this case, transportation runs on the Ambridge Area regular schedule.
My child is starting kindergarten. Will the bus pick my child up in front of the house?There are no special laws or requirements for transporting students enrolled in kindergarten.
Am I am required to be at my kindergartener's assigned bus stop for discharge?Yes, if no adult is present the bus driver may return the student to either the child's school or the bus garage and the parents will be contacted to pick up their child.
If I am required to be at my kindergartener's assigned bus stop for discharge, what if I am late or unable to be at the stop at the designated time? The bus driver is not permitted to discharge kindergarten student unless an adult is at the stop to receive the student. If no adult is present the bus driver may return the student to the child's school or the bus garage and the parents will be contacted to pick up their child. Habitual lateness will result in loss of transportation service.
Special Education Student Transportation
I have a question about my child's transportation, who should I contact? If special transportation is required, the Director of Special Education will contact the district's transportation department.
Daycare and Special Situations
Can my child to be picked up in the morning or dropped off after school at a daycare? The district will provide one morning and one afternoon "rostered" stop. If your child's daycare is every day and on an existing bus route, the district will provide transportation as a courtesy. School districts are not required to provide this service. This rule also applies to students with divorced parents.
Bus Stop Change/Addition Requests
Very few bus stop changes or additions are made after the schedule is developed. The schedule is based on considerations of safety and efficiency. Each year, parents ask the following questions:
I think my child has too far to walk to the bus stop, can the stop be moved closed to my house? Bus stops and schedules are not changed for this reason. Pennsylvania State Law allows a district to ask a child, regardless of age, to walk up to a mile and a half to a bus stop. The average walking distance to a school bus stop for Ambridge Area students is between 1/8 and 1/4 of a mile. No children in the Ambridge Area School District have to walk 1 1/2 miles.
There is a bus stop for elementary students near my house, why doesn't the middle school/high school bus stop at this stop? The bus company runs three bus schedules, i.e., Elementary, Junior High and High School. The schedules and stops are designed based on ridership, safety and efficiency for each schedule. Additional bus stops are not added for this reason.
I think my child's ride is too long, can the bus schedule be changed? Bus stops and schedules are not changed for this reason. Transporting nearly 3500 students over a large area will require some students to be first on the bus in the morning and last off in the afternoon, i.e., some will have a longer bus ride. Routes are based on population distribution, efficiency and safety. There are no time limits set by Pennsylvania State Law or regulations.
My child has to walk up a steep hill, can the bus stop be moved closer to my house? Bus stop locations are based on an analysis of both safety and efficiency. If possible, bus stops are not located on steep hills where it may be difficult for the bus to stop or start.
My child is the only student at the stop this year, why can't the stop be moved to my house? Stops are evaluated each year. Once stops are established, stops are not changed for the convenience of an individual or a small number of students or families. Although stops are reviewed each year, it is important for reasons of safety and efficiency to maintain as much consistency as possible from year to year.
I can't see my child while walking to the bus stop, can the bus stop be moved closer to my house? Bus stops are not changed for this reason. Pennsylvania School Law permits student walking distance up to 1 1/2 miles.
My child has to cross the street to the bus stop, can the bus stop be changed to my side of the street? Some students will have to cross streets and roads to a bus stop. Children should wait to cross the road to board the bus until the bus is at a complete stop with red lights activated.
We had a bus stop closer to our home last year, why was the stop changed? Stops will change year to year depending on the number of students in each residential area and grade levels.
Our neighborhood has no sidewalks, can we have an additional bus stop so our children do not have to walk to the existing stop? With the large number of streets and roads in the Ambridge Area School District, it is necessary for some students to walk on streets or roads in neighborhoods with no sidewalks.
What if I think that my child's walk to the bus stop is unsafe? R.J. Rhodes Transit Inc and district personnel will both review bus safety concerns. This review may involve a site visit. Based on a review of conditions, the bus company submits a recommendation to the district to keep the current stop or recommends a new stop location.
School Delays/Cancellations/Late Buses
Bus schedules for non-public, private schools and the
Technical School follow the Ambridge Area schedule.
For example, if Ambridge Area School District is delayed two hours,
the bus schedule for these schools will also be delayed two hours.
Why was my child's bus late? On occasion, a bus might be late picking up students due to traffic congestion/accidents, weather conditions or a substitute driver. Please know that we do everything possible to have all buses running on schedule each and every day. In the event that your bus does not arrive as scheduled, contact Rhodes at (724)266-4322. Please allow 10-15 minutes before calling.
Will I receive a call if a bus is going to be late? The district works with the bus company to be notified if a bus is going to be late. As a courtesy, if the district is notified, a call notification will be issued if a bus is late by 20 minutes or more.
Pennsylvania Law - Frequently Asked Questions
The school district is often asked questions that relate the Pennsylvania State Law. Many of these questions are answered on the Pennsylvania Department of Education's FAQ web page.
Will the school issue a bus pass for a student to ride another bus? Bus passes are issued on a limited basis from each building office depending on available bus seating. Before issuing passes, schools are required to check the seat count to verify that there is enough room on a bus.
If a bus has open seats, depending on the age of the child, a pass may be used to accommodate alternate home situations over the full school year, e.g., divorced parents. Because a young child could easily get confused, alternate arrangements should be very simple, e.g., every other week and not Tuesday, Thursday every other week. These accommodations are provided as a courtesy. School districts are not required to make accommodations for parent and student special situations, e.g., after school programs, work schedules and divorce arrangements. Requests for special situations should be made using the transportation "Bus Stop Change/Addition" form. Not all requests are approved and the district's decision is final.
New to District
We're new to the district, what do we do to arrange bus transportation? The first step is to contact the district office and enroll your child. The district office will notify the district's transportation department. The bus company will be notified and a bus company representative will call you once transportation is set up. Expect a minimum of five school days. If your move in date is weeks away, please call the transportation office two weeks before your move in date to verify transportation services.
What are some safety "rules" to teach your child?
Students, parents, teachers, administrators, transportation personnel and the motoring public all play important roles in keeping our children safe while on or around the school bus:
Please take a moment to review the following safety tips to help ensure our children arrive to and from school safely each day:
- Get to the school bus stop ten minutes early, so you won't have to run across the road to catch the bus.
- When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic. Line up at least five giant steps away from the curb or the roadway to wait for the bus.
- Never run after the school bus if it has already left the bus stop.
- Never push when getting on or off of the school bus.
- Always walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus when crossing so that the school bus driver can see you.
- If crossing a road or street, wait until the bus has the red flashing lights on and all traffic has stopped before crossing.
- When the school bus is moving, always stay in your seat. Never put your head, arms or hands out of the window.
- Talk quietly; do not distract your school bus driver.
- If your school bus crosses railroad tracks, be calm and quiet so that your driver can listen for a train. Always obey your school bus driver's instructions, so that he or she can make safe decisions.
- Never play with the emergency exits. Backpacks, band instruments, or sports equipment may not block the aisle or emergency exits. If there is an emergency, listen to the driver and follow instructions.
- When getting off of the school bus, make sure that all drawstrings and other loose objects are secure so that they don't get caught on the handrail or the door.
- Never cross the street behind the school bus. Do not walk alongside a moving bus.
- If you leave something on the bus or drop something outside of the bus, never go back for it. The driver may not see you and begin moving the bus.
- Never speak to strangers at the bus stop and never get into the car with a stranger.
PennDOT provides a school bus activity booklet geared toward elementary students.
What if a bus breaks down? Do not drive to pick up your child. A bus will be sent.
Why does the bus company try to avoid bus stops in cul-de-sacs? Except for special education circumstances, buses are generally not routed into a cul-de-sac. Cul-de-sac stops are considered unwise, because cul-de-sac stops create blind spots often causing students to enter or exit in a danger zone around the bus (at a corner stop or street curb stop, they enter/ exit outside the danger zone).Different styles, sizes of buses and sizes of cul-de-sacs make maneuvering difficult. In addition, parked cars and other obstacles create road hazards that may not be seen until entering the cul-de-sac and backing up a bus is dangerous.
What if I have a concern about a bus driver? If you have a concern about the bus driver, contact
Can I get on the bus to talk to the driver? Due to safety and efficiency reasons this is strongly discouraged. Parents are not permitted by Pennsylvania State Law to get on a school bus after being forbidden to do so by a bus driver or school principal. Violation of this law is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Can a child be suspended from riding the bus? Yes, transportation is a privilege, not a right. Discipline is handled by the school principal.
Can my child be required to sit in a designated school bus seat? Yes, students can be assigned to a seat. This is a practice used by many school districts to control behavior or maximize utilization of bus capacity.
Why don't buses have seat belts? Buses are constructed for safe transportation of children. The seating is compartmentalized and padded to provide a seated child with a safe area in the event of an impact. The height of the vehicle places the seating above impact zones providing extra safety for the riders.
There is no room for my child to stand at the bus stop, is it legal for cars to park on at bus stop? Cars should not park in the area where children can stand. The Pennsylvania Vehicle Code addresses vehicles parking near an intersection with a stop sign or other traffic signal.
How soon should my child arrive at the bus stop prior to pickup? Students should arrive at the bus 10 minutes prior to their scheduled time especially the first several weeks of school. Please allow the driver a window of 10 minutes especially for variables such as changing traffic patterns and even passenger load can change daily impacting schedule slightly.
My child left an item (e.g., coat) on the bus. How do I get it back? Personal items will be left on the bus for two days or returned to the school building. The school district or bus company is not responsible for lost or misplaced items.
My child obtained a parking permit to drive to school, can my child ride the bus on bad weather days? Students who receive parking permits are removed from the bus roster. In bad weather, or for other temporary reasons, your child may board the bus to ride to school.
Director of Transportation
Rhodes Transit, Bus Company