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 June 1 for service to start the following September. Schools submitting requests for bus service for GE students after June 1 may 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.
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 Transportation 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. Buses may arrive 30 minutes prior to the session time in the morning or 30 minutes after the session time in the afternoon.
Once the initial set of bus stops is created, your school is responsible for the management of changes to student eligibility, and 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.
Someone must be responsible for:
- Entering new students who are eligible for transportation
- Updating, correcting, or deleting a transportation record for a student
- Requesting a new bus stop when a new student enters the school
- 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.
For nonpublic schools, this must be entered in NPSIS .
Your transportation designee must participate in training about the management of transportation-related information.
The school is responsible for assisting with school bus safety drills
State Education Law requires that all students participate in three school bus safety drills each year.
- Schools must arrange these drills with the bus companies that service the school
- Teachers at the school are tasked with conducting the drills
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.
This form will also ask about session times. The standard NYC public school schedule is a 6-hour and 20-minute day, with additional time on Monday and Tuesday afternoons for professional development and parent engagement. If yours is public school, and you do not have an approved School Based Option (SBO) for a modified session time, you must use this standard schedule until your SBO is approved.
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.
Schools that are under construction or renovation may submit a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO). It is your school’s responsibility to continue to file updates for a TCO to OPT until a permanent certificate is issued.
COs and TCOs, which are not required for schools located in DOE buildings, may be requested from the NYC Department of Buildings.
If the Department of Buildings (DOB) cannot provide a CO or TCO, you may also submit a “letter of no objection” from the DOB indicating that the building has been inspected and approved for use as a school with classrooms for the grade range and number of pupils who will attend.
Schools located outside of New York City should contact their local government agency with responsibility for the safety of buildings to request documentation comparable to a Certificate of Occupancy.
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.
Nonpublic schools in New York City may demonstrate this in one of two ways:
- Contact the Community Superintendent of your district and request the curriculum be reviewed for certification.
- When this is complete, a copy of the certification letter must be forwarded to OPT.
- In lieu of a certification letter, nonpublic schools may provide OPT with their Basic Educational Data System (BEDS) number.
- The BEDS number is issued by NYSED.
- For more information, see the NYSED website.
DOE public schools and NY State public schools outside of New York City should also provide OPT with their BEDS number. Schools outside of New York State should provide OPT with documentation comparable to that required in New York, indicating that the curriculum has been reviewed and approved by the appropriate state agency.
4. Next Steps
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 used by OPT to identify the school for transportation purposes. This code will be unique to your location and should not be used for any other school. The first two numbers will identify your school's geographic district and the remaining three digits will identify the school itself. For public and NYC-based charter schools, while this "OPT code" may resemble the school's "ATS code", it is critical that you always correctly identify the OPT code when communicating with OPT.
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.