Driver and Attendant Certification Process and Responsibilities

All Drivers and Attendants, including all substitutes and temporaries, must be approved by the Director (or designee) before they begin work.  This requires that all drivers and Attendants must meet all the requirements listed below, and that all required documentation must have been received by the Office of Pupil Transportation prior to commencement of service. All documentation sent to the Office of Pupil Transportation must show the name, social security number and company of the Driver or Attendant.  The photo identification cards that Drivers and Attendants are required to wear will not be issued until all requirements have been met.

Driver Requirements

Drivers must meet all requirements of Section 156.3 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, Article 19-A of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and additional requirements of the Board of Education, as specified in the contract. Highlights of these requirements are listed in brief below.

Drivers must be able to speak, read, and understand the English language.

Employment Application

  • DOE Security Clearance Request (through PETS Personnel Eligibility Tracking System) or subsequent systems
  • To initiate a request for driver certification, Vendor enters applicant details into "PETS"; triggering a nomination email which is sent to the applicant.
  • The email will be sent from PETSAdminSupport@schools.nyc.gov; within the email will be a link to the DOE’s “Applicant Gateway” system.
  • The link (in the email) will require the applicant to establish a “Profile” in the “Applicant Gateway” and complete an electronic Moral Questionnaire (MQ). After completing all necessary forms in the Applicant Gateway, each applicant will then be required to print a copy of a “Fingerprint Referral Form” (FRF), which should be included in the package submitted to the DOE during the certification process.
  • The applicant needs to be fingerprinted at an approved DOE site (i.e. Vernon Blvd, 65 Court Street). The applicant needs to bring the fingerprint Referral Form, Money order for $135.00 (This cost may change) and U.S. government issued ID to the fingerprinting appointment.
  • Upon DOE Security Clearance the Following Items Are Required for Certification and Maintaining Certification
  • The vendor schedules a certification appointment for the applicant and all Paperwork, Training and Testing must be completed in the respective timeframes outlined below.
  • A full and complete "Information Form, School Bus Driver" (BE/OPT 9817A);
  • A Final Qualification Letter from the Division of Driver Program Regulation of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles;
  • An official, written certification of approval from a School Bus Driver Training Instructor approved by the New York State Department of Education attesting that the candidate has successfully completed all pre-service training requirements;
  • A full, complete and approved “Examination to Determine Physical Condition of Driver Under Article 19-A” from (NYSDMV Form DS-874 or such other form as approved by the New York State Education Department) and as prescribed hereinafter, which may not be dated more than ninety (90) days prior to the applicant’s appearance at the Office of Pupil Transportation to be certified, as well as a PPD with date taken, no more than one year’s previous or a Chest X-Ray (CXR) with date taken, no more than two year previous;
  • A full and complete abstract of the candidate’s official vehicle operating record from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles indicating an S19A Status of Active-School Qualified;
  • Copies of the Driver’s NYS Commercial Driver License with a P endorsement and an S endorsement and a Social Security card;
  • A completed Article 19-A Bus Driver Application and completed Non-Criminal Fingerprint Transmittal Form;
  • A separate certification including the applicant’s name and Social Security number, on letterhead stationery signed by an authorized representative of the Contractor to attest: that the Contractor has investigated, reviewed and approved personally the New York State Department of Motor Vehicle abstract of operating record as well as the training, experience, and references of each applicant; and, to the best of the Contractor’s knowledge, each candidate is of good moral character, fit, and capable in all respects to perform as a vehicle operator pursuant to any resulting contract;
  • Certification that the vehicle operator has successfully passed pre-employment drug and alcohol test in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations and the New York City Administrative Code, dated no more than sixty (60) days prior to certification;
  • Certification that the vehicle operator has successfully completed a physical performance test, dated no more than sixty (60) days prior to certification;
  • Within thirty (30) days of application, certification that the vehicle operator has successfully completed an “Article 19-A Biennial Behind the Wheel Road Test” (and biennially thereafter);
  • Within sixty (60) days of application, certification that the vehicle operator has successfully completed an “Article 19-A Oral/Written Examination”;
  • Certification of completion of the one-hour training course required under PJ’s Law; and
  • Any other documentation as required in any resulting contract, by Article 19-A standards or as may be required by the Director [or designee (s)] or due to changes in local, state or federal laws, rules or regulations.
  • Each vehicle operator must be fully competent, thoroughly reliable, and at least twenty-one years of age.  Each vehicle operator must be physically fit and properly qualified by experience, driving record, and training to perform his or her duties.

Letters of Reference

Three (3) letters of character reference must be submitted not earlier than three (3) years from the start of service pursuant to any resulting contract from extant individuals, organizations, firms, and/or agencies not related by blood or marriage to the candidate, which attest to his or her personal character, work record and habits, and extent of experience, if any, in a related transportation field.

Fingerprints

In addition to the DOE security clearance (through PETS or subsequent systems), the contractor must follow the procedures established by the Director for DMV clearance.

All Drivers must be fingerprinted by Identity Solutions, or such other board-approved service providers: a list of enrollment centers can be found at www.L1Enrollment.com and by calling 1-877-472-6915. (The driver shall pay the initial fingerprinting fee.)

Driver’s License

Drivers must possess a New York State Commercial Drivers License with P and S endorsements, in accordance with requirements of the State of New York and New York City. A conditional or restricted use license is not acceptable.

Medical Examinations and Drug Testing

Drivers must pass a medical examination once each school year.  Each vehicle operator must submit to an annual examination by a New York State licensed physician who is not the Driver’s personal physician and who is authorized by the Driver’s employer.  The physician must date and sign his or her findings upon completion of each examination.  The Contractor must replace any certifying physician at any time upon request by the Director of the Medical Director of the Department of Education.    

  • The Contractor must report the results of each annual physical examination immediately to the Director on forms approved by the New York State Department of Education and provided by the Office of Pupil Transportation.  These forms constitute the medical certificate.
  • Each vehicle Driver must meet the physical fitness requirements of the New York State Education Department’s regulations stated at 8 9A) N.Y.C.R.R. Section 156.3(c) and the New York State Motor Vehicles Commissioner’s regulations stated at 15 (A) N.Y.C.R.R.
  • In addition to all other representations of physical condition, the physician’s report for each Driver must certify that the Driver “does not use an amphetamine, narcotic, or any habit-forming drug…and has no current clinical diagnosis of alcoholism,” as required pursuant to the New York State Motor Vehicles Commissioner’s regulations stated at 15 (A) N.Y.C.R.R.
  • In addition to annual examinations by a physician, the Director [or designee (s)] will have the right, power, and authority to require any Contractor to require any Driver to undergo at any time during the term of any resulting contract a general and/or specific medical examination.
  • Each Driver’s physical exam at initial employment must be dated within the ninety - (90)day period immediately preceding the applicant’s appearance at the Office of Pupil Transportation to be certified.
  • In no case will the interval between annual physical examinations exceed a period of thirteen (13) months.
  • Each Driver’s annual physical examination must include tests for hearing, vision, tuberculosis, and all other conditions, illnesses, and/or diseases required pursuant to State regulations as specified at 8(A) N.Y.C.R.R. Section 156.3 (c) and at 15 (A)  N.Y.C.R.R. Sections 6.11 and 6.12.  These tests must be reported on the noted forms.
  • In the event the Driver has a positive reaction to the TB skin test or the QFT (blood test), a chest x-ray must be provided indicating that the TB infection is latent, meaning is not active, contagious, or making the individual sick.
  • The Department of Education will not be required to pay for any physical examination for any Driver.
  • Each Driver will be required to submit to random, post-accident, return-to-duty, reasonable suspicion and other drug testing in accordance with the requirements of the Office of Pupil Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy, 49 CFR Part 382 and Chapter 6, Title 17 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York.

Training

Every Contractor must comply fully with the regulations of the Commissioner of the State Education Department as stated at 8(A) N.Y.C.R.R. 156.3 (d) (2) pertaining to training and instruction for each Driver utilized pursuant to any resulting contract.  At present, the section mandates the following requirements for each Driver;

  • Each school bus Driver employed initially either by a board of education or by any transportation contractor subsequent to July 1, 1973, must have received at least two (2) hours of instruction in school bus safety practices prior to the start of service as an operator;
  • Each Driver of a vehicle transporting children with disabilities who is initially employed subsequent to January 1, 1976, must have received an additional one (1) hour of instruction concerning the special needs of a disabled child prior to the start of service as an operator;
  • During the first year of employment, each Driver must complete the New York State Education Department’s School Bus Driver Basic (Thirty Hour) Training Program, which must include two (2) hours of instruction concerning the special needs of a disabled child;
  • All Drivers must receive a minimum of two (2) hours of refresher instruction in school bus safety at least twice each year, at sessions to be conducted prior to the first day of school and prior to February first each year;
  • Refresher courses for Drivers of vehicles transporting children with disabilities must also include instruction relating to the special needs of a disabled child.
  • Prior to returning to work, each Driver who experiences two or more school bus accidents (i.e., resulting in an injury to any party, a fatality or property damage in excess of $1000) within a two-year period while performing NYCDOE contract service must successfully complete an accident repeater course conducted by a defensive driving specialist as approved by the Director [designee (s)].
  • If, during the term of any resulting contract or any extensions thereof, OPT requires an independent course of training and instruction and/or written examinations to test the proficiency levels of vehicle operations as an adjunct to New York State Education Department school bus driver instruction and training, each Driver will be required to undergo such training, instruction and/or testing.
  • Each Contractor must utilize instructors approved by the New York State Education Department to conduct training sessions for school bus drivers.  All training programs must be approved by the New York State Education Department and the Office of Pupil Transportation before the program is offered.
  • The Contractor must certify in writing that each Driver has received the appropriate training and instruction as specified in any resulting contract.
  • Within two weeks of each Driver’s completion of each training and/or instruction requirement, the Contractor must arrange for delivery to OPT of a written certification signed and dated by a New York State Education Department approved school bus driver instructor to state that the particular requirement has been completed successfully. 

Attendant Requirements

The Contractor must operate every vehicle and every type of transportation and other service in full and strict compliance with Title 19, Sections 601, 603 (a), 603 (b), and 605 of the New York City Administrative Code.  Each Attendant must be thoroughly reliable, fully competent, and at least twenty-one years of age.  Each Attendant must be physically fit and properly qualified by training and experience to perform his or her duties.

To protect the safety and welfare interests of children and other authorized passengers and for other reasons, the Contractor must employ only persons of good moral character to serve as attendants (including spares and substitutes).

The Contractor must not cause or allow any individual to work as a regular or substitute Attendant, pursuant to any resulting contract, until receipt of written approval from the Director (or designee).  The Director (or designee) shall have the right, power and authority to refuse initial and/or subsequent approval for any individual to serve as a regular or substitute Attendant, as specified in the New York State Education Law and the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law.  Prior to the approval of each candidate, the Contractor must arrange for the following information  to exist on file at OPT in a manner approved by the Director and/or on the forms listed below, or as  otherwise may be prescribed by the Director. Attendants must be able to speak, read, and understand the English language.

Employment Application

Initial submission by vendor

  • DOE Security Clearance Request (through PETS Personnel Eligibility Tracking System) or subsequent systems
  • To initiate a request for Attendant certification, Vendor enters applicant details into "PETS"; triggering a nomination email which is sent to the applicant
  • The email will be sent from PETSAdminSupport@schools.nyc.gov; within the email will be a link to the DOE’s “Applicant Gateway” system.
  • The link (in the email) will require the applicant to establish a “Profile” in the “Applicant Gateway” and complete an electronic Moral Questionnaire (MQ). After completing all necessary forms in the Applicant Gateway, each applicant will then be required to print a copy of a “Fingerprint Referral Form” (FRF), which should be included in the package submitted to the DOE during the certification process.
  • The applicant needs to be fingerprinted at an approved DOE site (i.e. Vernon Blvd, 65 Court Street). The applicant needs to bring the fingerprint Referral Form, Money order for $135.00 (This cost may change) and U.S. government issued ID to the fingerprinting appointment.

Upon DOE Security Clearance the Following Items Are Required for Certification and Maintaining Certification

The vendor schedules a certification appointment for the applicant and all Paperwork, Training and Testing must be completed in the respective timeframes outlined below.

The following information needs to be brought to the certification appointment:

  • A full and complete "Information form, School Bus Attendant" (Form BE/OPT 9617A)
  • A full, complete, and approved official certificate from the Department of Education attesting to the candidate’s successful completion of the ten (10) hours “School Bus Attendant Basic Training Program” conducted under the direction of the Office of Pupil Transportation;
  • A full, complete, and approved official certificate from the State of New York Education Department attesting to the candidate’s successful completion of a State Education Department-approved ten (10) hours “School Bus Attendant/Monitor Basic Course of Instruction”;
  • A full, complete, and approved official certificate from an instructional agency approved by the New York State Education Department attesting to the candidate’s successful completion of the “NYS Attendant/Monitor Pre-Service Training” course of instruction;
  • A full, complete and approved official certificate attesting to the candidate’s successful completion of the American Red Cross CPR course;
  • A full, complete and approved official certificate attesting to the candidate’s successful completion of the American Red Cross First Aid course;

Within sixty (60) days of application, certification that the attendant has successfully passed pre-employment drug and alcohol tests that comply with the specifications and procedures contained in U.S. Department of Transportation regulations and the New York City Administrative Code;

Certification attesting to the candidate’s successful passage of the Monitor/Attendant Physical Performance Test no more than sixty (60) days prior to the applicant’s appearance at OPT to request certification;

Copies of a government-issued driver’s license or identification card and a Social Security card;

A separate request on letterhead stationery signed by an authorized representative of the Contractor requesting certification of the applicant;

Completion of the one-hour training course required under PJ’s Law; and

Any other documentation as required in any resulting contract or as may be required by the Director (or designee) or due to changes in local, state or federal laws, rules or regulations.

Letters of Reference 

Three (3) letters of reference dated not earlier than (3) years prior to the start of service pursuant to any resulting contract from extant individuals, organizations, firms, and/or agencies not related by blood or marriage to the candidate, which attest to the candidate’s personal character, work record and habits and the extent of experience, if any, in the school bus transportation field;

Fingerprints

All attendants must be fingerprinted in accordance with the requirements of the New York State Education Department.  Attendants must submit a full, complete and approved “Fingerprint Referral Form” from the NYCDOE’s Office of Personnel Investigation.  (There is an initial fingerprinting fee to be paid by the Attendant.)

Medical Examination

Attendants must pass a medical examination before employment and then once each year thereafter.  A form completed by the examining physician must be submitted to the Office of Pupil Transportation.  Within the ninety (90) days prior to certification, a full, complete and approved certification of physical fitness on the “Medical Examination” form (Form BE/OPT 9609 or such other form as approved by the New York State Education Depart-ment), and as prescribed hereinafter in the official Request for Proposals, as well as a PPD with date taken, no more than one (1) year previous, or a Chest X-Ray with date taken, no more than two (2) years previous.

Training

Pre-service Training

  • Prior to utilization for services pursuant to the Contract, each attendant must undergo and complete a minimum of thirty (30) hours of basic training concerning the transportation, supervision and care of special education children.  Attendants shall complete a basic course taught by an approved instructor who is certified by the State of New York to teach courses in school bus safety practices (School Bus Driver Instructor, or “SBDI”).  These courses will be held at OPT approved training facilities.
  • At the sole discretion of the Director (or designee), the Department of Education may require attendants to undergo additional, advanced or specialized training pursuant to the needs of special education students.  Any attendant who is returning to work after an absence of three years or more must repeat the training course.  
  • Prior to starting service on a vehicle as Attendant, each prospective attendant must take and pass a course sensitizing him or her to the special needs of the children being transported and the best methods with which to meet those needs.
  • Each attendant providing service under any resulting contract must be certified as having successfully completed a course or courses in child and adult CPR by the American Red Cross, before serving as Attendant on any vehicle.  That certification must be kept current at all times in conformance with the standards established by the certifying organization.  The NYCODE will not be required to pay for any CPR training for any attendant.
  • Each Attendant must complete the American Red Cross Multi-Media Starter Course in First Aid.  This course shall provide the knowledge and skills called for in situations where emergency first aid care is required and medical assistance is not extensively delayed.  The Multi-Media Starter Course in First Aid also instructs on personal safety and accident prevention so that a person can learn the cause of accidents and act to eliminate or minimize such cases.  
  • Each Attendant must be available at no additional cost to the NYCDOE for specialized training on two (2) days after starting to staff a new route where a new route shall mean “a route that had been staffed by another attendant, a route that previously did not exist, either portion of a ‘split route’ or similar circumstances.”  Even students with similar-appearing special needs may have a wide spectrum of how those needs should be met.  Such training is to provide the Attendant with special skills to better address the special needs of children being transported (e.g., how to interact with children with autism, best practices for maneuvering wheelchairs, etc.).  Such training is to be selected in consultant with, and provided by, the Principal, Chief Administrator or other designated “Person in Charge” of the school being served.   Said training is to be provided between morning and afternoon runs or as approved by the director. 

Refresher Courses

Twice a year, or as required by the Director, each Attendant must undergo a two (2) hour refresher course in attendant skills and school bus safety, as specified by the Office of Pupil Transportation, as well as provide evidence to the Director (or designee) of the successful completion of each course.   

Driver and Attendant Responsibilities

Drivers and Attendants are responsible for carrying out the service requirements listed in the operational procedures section of this manual, as follows:

  • Drivers and Attendants must be courteous at all times and must avoid the use of harsh, impatient, defamatory, abusive, impolite, vulgar or obscene language with the pupils, parents, school personnel or the general public.
  • If there is a change in the bus route that will cause the bus to arrive late, the driver or Attendant must advise the parent of the anticipated time of arrival for the vehicle, both for pick-up in the morning and return in the afternoon.  The Driver or the Attendant must notify the parent at least two (2) days in advance of any changes in the bus route that will cause the bus to arrive at the stop either earlier or later than the usual times.
  • Drivers and Attendants shall not allow pupils to enter or leave the vehicle while it is in motion.
  • Drivers and Attendants shall not allow pupils to thrust any part of their bodies out of open windows or to throw objects out of windows.
  • When the vehicle has stopped to pick up or discharge pupils, the Attendant shall assist pupils in boarding or leaving the vehicle to the extent that is required by each pupil’s disability.
  • Drivers and Attendants shall assist pupils according to their individual needs.

For pupils who require wheelchairs, the Driver and the Attendant shall divide the following duties as most practical in each individual circumstance:

  • The Driver or Attendant shall wheel children to and from the curb. 
  • All passengers using wheelchair or mobility devices shal lbe loaded and unloaded by wheeling the wheelchars or mobility devices on the lift perpendicular to the vehicle, with the passenger and chair facing away from the bus, so that all wheels fit in the lift, permitting the lift-gate to be closed.
  • If the vehicle is equipped with a strap or additional barrier protecting the chair or mobility device from falling off the lift, it must be locked into place before raising or lowering the lift.
  • When a wheelchair or mobility device is on the lift, the Attendant must be positioned to hold the chair until the lift has been raised into the vehicle when loading, and until the lift has been lowered to the ground and the driver has taken over assisting the pupil off the vehicle when unloading.
  • The attendant shall secure the student in the seat by the safety belt and a 3-point occupant restraint belts at all times and secure the wheelchair or mobility device into securement brackets on the vehicle before the vehicle moves.

For pupils who are not in wheelchairs but who cannot use the steps of the vehicle, the National School Transportation Specifications and Procedures indicate that during operation of a wheelchair lift on a school bus (including manual operation), “no one shall be allowed to stand on the lift platform” (The 2010 National School Transportation Specifications and Procedures. Page 223, section E). This has not been closely adhered to across the city. In a joint effort to improve student safety, the Office of Pupil Transportation is advising you that students served by the NYCDOE are not permitted to stand on lifts to embark /disembark school buses.

For pupils who are not in wheelchairs but who cannot use the steps of the vehicle:

Students who use therapeutic and/or collapsible strollers/mobility devices may be required to use wheelchairs instead in order to utilize certain special vehicles. Students who use walkers for ambulation will need to use a wheelchair or boarding chair to board the school bus and then may be transferred to a school bus seat when possible. In such circumstances, parents should be given guidance on how to acquire the necessary equipment.

At no time should a student STAND on a lift

For pupils who can use the steps of the vehicle, the Attendant shall:

  • Step from the vehicle when stopped to pick up or discharge pupils and assist the Pupil to the extent required for the Pupil to enter or leave the vehicle safely.
  • In no event shall the Attendant be required to assist a pupil inside a building.
  • Advise parents to have pupils ready and waiting for the arrival of the vehicle and advise parents of the policies concerning waiting for pupils.
  • Attendants shall sit near the middle of the vehicle in order to allow visual contact with pupils.
  • In the event of a temporary hindrance (e.g., snow, excavation, etc.), an alternative arrangement shall be made for the bus to stop at a location convenient for parents and pupils.
  • The attendant shall secure all pupils into their seats by safety belts before the bus begins moving. Safety belts must remain buckled throughout the ride.

If the Parent or an adult designated by the Parent to meet the pupil is not at the bus stop when the pupil arrives home from school, the driver or attendant shall not leave the child alone or with any unauthorized individual.

If the Parent or authorized individual is not at home when the Pupil is returned from school; the Driver shall follow these procedures:

  • The Driver shall notify the Dispatcher immediately and shall complete the run, dropping off the remaining pupils.
  • The Dispatcher shall notify the Office of Pupil Transportation that no one is at home to receive the Pupil.
  • After completing the run, the Driver shall return to the Pupil’s home.
  • If the Parent (or other authorized persons) is at home, the driver will immediately notify the dispatcher, who will notify the Office of pupil transportation that the Pupil is in the custody of the parent.
  • If the Parent (or authorized person) is still not at home or no contact is made with the parent, the driver will immediately notify the dispatcher, who, in turn, will notify the Office of Pupil Transportation and Police Department.  

In the event of an emergency on the vehicle, the Attendant shall immediately notify the driver. After securing the vehicle, the driver shall arrange for emergency and/or medical assistance, when necessary.  The Attendant shall remain with the Pupils at all times.

  • Attendants are required to learn the bus route so that they can provide assistance to the new or substitute drivers when they are driving the route for the first time.

Response to the pupil misbehavior

If the pupil’s behavior on the bus is seriously disruptive or potentially dangerous, the Driver and the attendant must tell the pupil to stop the behavior. If the pupil continues misbehaving, the driver and the attendant shall discuss the problem with the principal or with the teacher in charge and prepare a written statement of misbehavior. If, after intervention by the teacher, the pupil’s disruptive behavior continues, a written report must be submitted by the driver to the principal and the office of Transportation.

  • Incidents involving physical harm while the bus is on route shall be documented and reported immediately to the principal and to the office of transportation.
  • All corporal punishment is forbidden.
  • The driver and the attendant have no authority to exclude a pupil from transportation.

Additional duties and responsibilities

  • Drivers shall be familiar with and obey at all times, the vehicle and traffic laws, regulations of the commissioner of motor vehicles and regulations of the state commissioner of education pertaining to pupil transportation.
  • Drivers shall make a full stop at all railroad crossings and at state highways before crossing , except that no stop need to be made at any railroad crossing where a police officer or traffic Control signal or sign direct traffic to proceed.
  • While operating school buses, drivers may not wear earphones attached to radios or other Electronic equipment.
  • Drivers should refer to the: New York state of education department’s school bus Driver basic (thirty-hour) training program.
  • Attendants should refer to the: school bus attendant basic training program.
  • The driver is in charge of the vehicle at all times. The attendant shall work under the drivers’ supervision.
  • Drivers and attendants shall wear uniform supplied by the contractor. And shall wear photo identification badges, on the outside of their uniforms, in a manner so as to clearly show the employees name, driver and attendant identification number assigned by The contractor and the name of the contractor that the employs the driver or attendant. The Identification badge must be visible from a distance of (10) ten feet.
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