Frequently Asked Questions

Who can ride the School Bus in Needham?
All Needham resident students may register to ride the school bus.  Students in grades K-6 who reside beyond 2 miles from their assigned school are eligible for free transportation, while students living two or fewer miles from school must pay a fee to ride the bus.

How do I find out if my student is eligible for free busing?
You may check to see if your K-6 student qualifies for free transportation (over two miles from school) by clicking this eligible street listing link.  Find the school your child attends, then locate your address within the listing.  If your address does not appear on the list, your student is not eligible for free transportation and must pay a fee.  If you do not find your address and feel that a mistake has been made, please contact the Transportation Office at 781-455-0400 x11242 or email [email protected].  Please note that incorrectly specifying your child’s eligibility status may delay processing.

Which students must pay a fee for transportation?
Fee-based busing applies to: all students in grades K-6 who reside within 2 miles of their assigned school, and all students in grades 7-12 regardless of distance.

What is the fee and is financial aid available?
The 2022-23 fee for school bus transportation is $415.   Payment is due by May 19, 2022.  A $50 late registration fee will be assessed after May 19, 2022, after which time the bus fee will increase to $465.  A payment and registration will be considered “on time” if it is made online on or before May 19, 2022, postmarked by May 19, 2022, or received by the Transportation Office or before the due date.  The bus fee will be prorated for students who enroll for the bus after December 1 of each school year. 

There is an $840 family cap in place for families with three or more students (increasing to $940 after May 19, 2022.)   

Financial assistance is available for families who qualify under income guidelines, and children eligible for free/reduced lunch do not pay a fee.  Please visit the Transportation Fee page for more information. 

Can I obtain a refund of my transportation Fee?

Unfortunately, refunds are provided only under the following circumstances:
Withdrawal before the May 19, 2022. due date (full refund.)
Families move out of Needham (prorated refund)
Student becomes eligible for free transportation based on mileage and grade (prorated refund)
A child is approved for special education transportation through the Student Services Office (prorated refund.) 
We regret that we are unable to refund a fee for other circumstances. 

If my student is eligible for free transportation do they need to register for the bus?
All Needham resident families must register their student for the bus, regardless of mileage from school, age or fee status.   Boston-resident students participating in the METCO program will be enrolled automatically in transportation, as will students on IEPs who receive transportation as a related service on their IEP will be registered automatically. 

For information on registering for the bus, visit the Bus Registration page.

How do I register for the bus?
All Needham resident families must register their student for the bus, regardless of mileage from school, age or fee status. Boston-resident students participating in the METCO program will be enrolled automatically in transportation, as will students on IEPs who receive transportation as a related service on their IEP will be registered automatically.  If you are a Boston resident student, click the link for METCO Program Transportation for more information about the bus.  For more information on how to qualify for special services transportation click the link for Special Services Transportation.

If I register before the deadline, am I guaranteed a seat on the bus?
Unfortunately, no. Registering your child does not guarantee that you will get a seat on the bus.  Registrations will be processed in the order they are received.  A wait list is developed once a particular bus has reached its capacity.  In the event that a particular bus is full, you will be notified in writing that you have been placed on a waiting list and you will not be charged at this time.  When/if seats become available the Transportation Department will notify those on the waiting list in the order they were placed, in writing.  Wait lists are typically reviewed after October 1st.  We will do everything we can, throughout the summer to find a seat for everyone.

I was placed on a wait list. How and when do I find if I have a seat?
When/if seats become available the Transportation Department will notify those on the waiting list in the order they were placed, in writing. Wait lists are reviewed on an ongoing, continual basis. Although seating is not guaranteed, the Department will do everything it can throughout the summer to find a seat for all registered students. In some cases, seats become available after the start of school in September.

Does my child need to carry a bus pass?
All bus students must carry and display their bus pass on a daily basis beginning with the first day of school.  Failure to display a bus pass could result in exclusion from the bus. Parents of younger students may want to consider enclosing the pass in a luggage tag and attaching the tag to your child’s backpack. This will keep the pass handy and allow the student to display it without delay. At the end of August bus passes will be mailed directly to all students who are either eligible or enrolled in the fee-based program and have paid their balance.

How do I find out when and where the bus stops?
Bus routes will be published in the local newspaper one week prior to school opening. The transportation program buses students to and from established neighborhood bus stops.
 
Can I request a bus stop that is closer to my home?
Yes.  Please complete this form and return it to the Transportation Office at 1330 Highland Avenue, Needham MA 02492, or by email to:  [email protected].    Bus stop change requests will be processed after October 1st.

Please note due to time and fairness constraints, it is not always possible for the bus to change stops or to make additional stops, even if the is passing by your residence.  However, if you feel there is an extraordinary safety circumstance that would justify a reevaluation of the bus stop location, please complete this form.

What if my bus is delayed?
Buses are sometimes delayed, particularly at the beginning of each school year and during inclement weather.  Please plan to have your child arrive at the bus stop 10-15 minutes early. Be patient, the bus will arrive. Within a few days the bus routes will settle into a routine and you will be able to correctly anticipate the schedule.  Parents may sign up to receive bus updates and notifications at our listserv or follow us on Twitter.

Can my student ride home on her friend's bus or be dropped off at a different location?
No.  For safety reasons, students must ride their assigned bus and be picked up/dropped off at their assigned stop.  Students are not permitted to board a different bus, nor to be dropped off/picked up at a different stop, nor may friends or other unregistered students ride the school bus. If there is a family emergency or medical situation, parents should contact the Transportation Department  to make the necessary arrangements.

My child lost their bus pass. How can we get a replacement?
You may obtain a replacement bus pass by contacting the Transportation Office in the Administration Building at [email protected]. There is no charge for a replacement bus pass.

 How can I access the Middle School after school late bus?
Unfortunately, due to routing constraints, the middle school late bus is not available during the 2021/22 School Year.

The school sent me a letter informing me that my child was standing on the bus. Can a student's conduct result in suspension from the school bus?
Students are expected to behave in a manner which will provide for optimum safety of the individual student as well as the safety of other students aboard the bus. When a student is reported for violating a safety rule in or around a school bus, school officials will review the situation with the student. Parents will be notified of the behavior. Depending on the severity of the offense or the frequency of violations, the student can receive a warning, brief suspension, or suspension from the bus for the balance of the school year. If a student is participating in the fee-based program and is suspended from the bus, the fee will not be refunded. Along with your application you will receive a copy of the conduct rules. This document will outline expected student behavior. Please review the conduct rules with your child and return it signed with your application.

If I feel there is a problem with student behavior or the operation of the bus, to whom should I report this?
The Transportation Office welcomes all inquiries and concerns. Feel free to contact us and we will address your issues.
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