Requesting Transportation Services

You can ask for transportation or request a change in service for your school. You may request transportation services in the following cases:
  • your school is new
  • your school is moving from one location to another
  • your school wants to change the services it currently receives  

The successful management of transportation requires the active involvement of a school-based designee(s). If you submit a request for services, your school should be prepared to undertake these responsibilities.

You can submit a transportation request at any time. However, requests to receive bus services for general education students must be received by July 1 for service to start the following September. Schools submitting requests for bus service for GE students after July 1 will be provided with MetroCards only.

The DOE’s Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) coordinates transportation services for public, charter, and nonpublic schools located in New York City and in surrounding areas up to fifty miles outside of NYC.

Transportation Considerations

Before requesting services, consider the following: 

  • The environment and traffic conditions surrounding the school: narrow streets, one-way streets, and high concentrations of residential parking on streets all present particular challenges to picking up and dropping off children in front of the school.
  • In creating routes for transportation, the DOE attempts to be as efficient and economical as possible: students from several different schools may share the same bus, students of different genders and ages may share the same bus, and/or students with different educational or behavioral backgrounds may share the same bus.
  • Buses that transport only general education students have only one adult on board: the driver: under the Chancellor’s Regulations, the management of discipline on the bus is the school’s responsibility.
  • Bus service for all public, charter, and nonpublic schools is limited by New York State law to 180 days of service per school year: the school year also starts and ends with the NYC public school calendar. If you would like to deviate from these dates, visit the Non-public schools calendar  and more information on the ITransportation Resources for Schools InfoHub page.
  • All buses have a “30-minute window” which governs the time when they must arrive at your school in the morning or afternoon: someone may need to be outside the school in the morning to help younger students off the bus and into the building, which should be open when buses arrive.
  • Once the initial set of bus stops is created, your school is responsible for the management of student eligibility changes and these bus stops:
  • A designee at your school is responsible for communicating any problems with busing to OPT: this can be communicated through a bus violations application or by calling OPT Customer Service at 718-392-8855.This means someone must be responsible for:
    • Entering new students who are eligible for transportation
    • Updating, correcting, or deleting a transportation record for a student
    • Requesting the creation of a new bus stop when a new student enters the school or a current student moves
    • Changing the location of an existing bus stop
    • Deleting a bus stop if no one is using the stop
  • Students who are eligible for full-fare transportation but are not routed for a bus stop should be issued a MetroCard: the DOE sends MetroCards  to your school. A school designee is responsible for recording each MetroCard’s serial number distributed to each student. If a student MetroCard is lost, damaged, or stolen, the card needs to be deactivated and a new card needs to be assigned. For public and charter schools, this must be entered in ATS. Nonpublic schools must maintain manual logs of MetroCard distribution.
  • Your transportation designee must participate in training about the management of transportation-related information.

    Steps to Request Transportation Services

    In order to initiate service, a school must submit the following to the Office of Pupil Transportation:

    1. Requesting Transportation Services form: this includes high level information about your school
    2. Certificate of Occupancy: any school not located in a NYCDOE school building must submit a copy of a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) or a “letter of no objection,” from the appropriate state or city agency. This must indicate that the building has been inspected and approved for use as a school or a facility with classrooms for the grade range and number of students who will be attending.
    3. Curriculum Certificate:  you must have a curriculum that has been certified as meeting the applicable state standards prior to the provision of transportation services.

    After receiving and reviewing these items, the DOE will determine the school’s eligibility to receive transportation services.

    If all documentation is complete, OPT will assign a five-digit school code which is how OPT identifies the school for transportation purposes.  

    Next, the eligibility of each child is determined using ATS for public and charter schools and NPSIS (Nonpublic School Information System) for nonpublic schools.

    Within New York City, the DOE determines the distance eligibility for general education students using computer software provided by the NYC Department of City Planning. This is the definitive database for distance determinations and supersedes mapping applications such as Google Maps, etc.

    The DOE constructs routes for eligible students based on Chancellor’s Regulation A-801. A minimum of eleven students is required to create and maintain a route. Each route is limited to five miles in total length, as measured through all stops to the school.

    Once a route(s) is established, the school and bus contractor are notified and given copies of routes reflecting the location of each stop and the number of students to be picked up at each stop. The school will also be notified about the bus stops eligible students are assigned to.

    Distance eligible pupils who cannot be accommodated on a route are eligible for full-fare MetroCards for use on MTA buses or subways. MetroCards are not provided for parents to accompany their young children to school. Distance eligible pupils in grades 7 through 12 are also provided with full-fare MetroCards for use on MTA buses or subways. Student MetroCards cannot be used on MTA Express Buses.

    If you have any questions contact the Office of Pupil Transportation at 718-392-8855.

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