Transportation Resources for Schools

Public, non-public and Pre-K school personnel and administration can use this page to access applications, forms and Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) policy and procedure information.

Requesting Transportation Services

You can ask for transportation for your school — or request a change in service — by following the steps in the Requesting OPT Transportation Services form.

Broadly, your school needs to plan for how they intend to handle the many transportation needs of its students. Then you must submit a Request for Service form, a Certificate of Occupancy, and a Curriculum Certificate.

Requesting after 4 PM Busing

Schools requesting general education bus service after 4 PM should read the After 4 PM Information and Application Procedures.

That document outlines the ways a school can use a bus from a DOE vendor, or receive reimbursement for their own, cheaper vendor. Either way, they must notify OPT by July 1 of the calendar year they want service.

Make sure to ask the parents of the students using after 4 PM busing to submit the parent authorization letter to your school.

Training & Support

Public schools can contact their FSC transportation liaison for transportation support and training.

Or, for both non-public and public schools, you can call OPT at 718-392-8855 or log into the OPT Info Stop.

Managing Student MetroCards

Schools give MetroCards to eligible students at the beginning of the fall and spring terms each school year. Schools must record the serial number of each MetroCard provided to each student, and deactivate and quickly replace lost, stolen, or non-working MetroCards.

You may not give a MetroCard to any student using yellow bus transportation, and the MetroCard must match a student’s level of eligibility.

  • Full-fare and special education cards are valid on MTA subways and buses (but not on express buses).
  • Full-fare MetroCards are available for eligible students. Please review the transportation overview page on the DOE website for additional information or contact your borough transportation liaison.

Four-Trip MetroCards

Each student MetroCard provides three trips each school day, with one transfer per trip. Three trips allows a student to travel from home to school, from school to an after school activity, and then from that activity back home. If a student tells you their trip to school requires more than three trips you may email publicschoolmetrocards@schools.nyc.gov to request for a four-trip MetroCard – you will also need to send the student’s home address, school address, and/or program address along with the request.

Visit the MTA web site and use the MTA Trip Planner to identify transportation options.

Special Program MetroCards

Special Program MetroCards are two-trip cards for students whose program ends after yellow bus service is available, or if they leave school during the day to travel to other programs.

You can request Special Program MetroCards through the Program Exception Application. They are for students attending approved programs including Saturday academies, afternoon school, internship, or work study programs. Students get cards each day they attend their program. Schools must track each student who receives a card. You don’t need to assign these cards based on a student’s ATS record.

Purchased MetroCards

Principals may purchase gold two-trip MetroCards for a variety of uses — including transportation for parent/teacher conferences and school events — by placing a purchase order through FAMIS. Indicate on the purchase order if you would like to pick up the cards at OPT or have them delivered by courier.

You can also turn in expired gold two-trip MetroCards for new ones if you submit them to OPT within one year of the expiration date. Any cards expired for more than one year won’t be exchanged and OPT recommends turning expired cards in before 9 months after expiration, to account for processing time.

Mail the expired MetroCards with a copy of the original purchase order to OPT at this address:

Attention: MetroCards
44-36 Vernon Boulevard, 6th Floor
Long Island City, NY 11101

Once OPT receives the expired cards, new ones will be sent via courier, or can be picked up at the OPT offices.

Email publicschoolmetrocards@schools.nyc.gov to arrange an appointment at OPT to exchange the expired cards in person. Appointments are only available in the afternoon and you must bring a copy of the original purchase order with you.

Schools that purchase large amounts of MetroCards should consider making smaller purchases to limit the number of exchanges necessary.

 

Field Trips

Students in kindergarten through grade 12 can get yellow bus service for field trips. Schools requesting field trips for Pre-K students under the age of 5 or weighing 50 pounds or less at the time of the trip require car seats and must charter the trip through a Pre-K vendor.

To request, cancel, edit, or view transportation services, school personnel may log in to the online field trip system. Please follow these guidelines:

  • Trips must be within the five boroughs of New York City.
  • Trips must leave the school after 9:30 AM and buses must return to the school by 1:30 PM.
  • Requests must be received by OPT at least two weeks before the trip date.
  • Trips cannot service multiple destinations.

Important dates

  • June 14, 2019 is the last day where field trips may commence for the 2018-2019 school year.
  • In addition, Field Trips may not be scheduled for the following days:
    • March 5, 8, 14, or 26 of 2019
    • June 4, 6, or 11 of 2019

Charter a Coach Bus

Schools can use the FAMIS portal (requires log in) to charter service on a coach bus for round-trip transportation of students and adults on school trips lasting no more than six days and five nights, within the five boroughs, intrastate, and out-of-state from all schools and offices under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Education.

Schools should go to the FAMIS portal (requires log in) to determine the least expensive vendor for their trip and issue a purchase order. The available coach bus companies are:

Academy Express, LLC
111 Paterson Avenue
Hoboken, NJ 07030
(201) 420-7000, Ext. 2236
lcagnetta@academybus.com
President: Francis Tedesco

Accord Bus, LLC
575 Scholes Street
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(212) 973-8282
sales@accordbus.com
President: Sofia Fayer

J & R Tours
80 Edison Avenue
Mount Vernon, NY 10550
(914) 668-5050
doe@jrbuses.com
President: James J. & Ralph J. DiDonato

S & J Tour & Bus, Inc.
185 Canal Street, #402
New York, Ny 10013
(718) 921-4246
sjtourbus@gmail.com
President: Mona Jiang

Suburban Trails
750 Somerset Street
New Brunswick, NY 08901
(732) 249-1100, Ext. 231
scott.sprengel@coachusa.com
President: Scott Sprengel

Charter a Yellow Bus

Schools may charter a Yellow Bus for a field trip from either of the Bus Companies for School-Age Children or Pre-K and Early Intervention Bus Companies. It is recommended that schools solicit bids from at least three companies before selecting one.

The services for these trips are not covered by any contract. Purchase orders should be issued through the FAMIS portal (log in required). Assistance is available for Famis Portal by calling the Portal Help Desk at (718) 935-4444.

Certificates for Free Transportation

Groups of students accompanied by teachers may use free group subway transportation certificates while traveling to and from educational field trip sites during designated days and times.

Certificates are valid for round-trip travel on subways only, not buses. The certificates may be used:

  • Monday through Friday (they are not valid on Saturday, Sunday or holidays).
  • Between the hours of 9:30 AM and 3:00 PM only.
  • Year round—including summer.
  • At any subway station of the NYC Transit System and Staten Island Rapid Transit.
  • For a maximum of 40 students and four adults.
  • For a minimum of five students and one adult.

To request certificates, schools can email certificatesfortransportation@schools.nyc.gov.

Schools can choose to combine yellow bus service and certificates on a trip. For example, a school may use yellow bus service to travel to their destination if they are leaving after 9:30 AM and use certificates of transportation for return travel by subway if they will return later than 1:30 PM

Free subway passes for use at other times of the day and on weekends and holidays are available from the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development.

Safety Drills

All public, non-public, and charter schools, including Pre-K and Early Intervention sites, are required to conduct at least three school bus safety drills per school year.
  • The first during the first week of the fall term (the first seven days).
  • The second between November 1 and December 31.
  • The third between March 1 and April 30.

Once the drills are completed:

How to Conduct a School Bus Safety Drill

School staff should adhere to the following guidelines when conducting school bus safety drills. The instruction provided during each drill can prepare all school children to act quickly and safely in the event of an emergency even if they are not regular school bus riders. These directions are adapted for NYC from the School Bus Safety Drills Check Sheets published by the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute for the NYSED. Keep in mind; every child is required to participate in the drills, whether or not s/he receives school bus transportation regularly.

School leaders may satisfy school bus safety drill requirements in one of two ways:

  1. On a yellow bus vehicle requested by the school administrator from a *contracted bus company.
    • *Schools must work directly with a bus company to obtain a vehicle for the school bus safety drill and a driver to partner in the instruction of the drill;
    • Each class should be allotted thirty minutes to practice on the bus, and drills should be co-led by a bus driver and school staff member to perform the drill and
    • Introduce the drill and explain why the drills you are conducting the drill.
    • Stress the importance of following driver directions in an emergency.
    • Review the DOE’s safety tips for riding on a bus with students. 

working  with your bus company to plan the drill OR

  1. In a classroom setting

Steps to Follow During a School Bus Safety Drill

1.   Review Procedures in the Event of a School Bus Emergency

  • Explain the concept of emergency: “a dangerous situation requiring immediate action.”
  • Review situations that would create an emergency:
    • Fire
    • Threat of explosion
    • Accident
    • Bus in an unsafe position
  • Emphasize specific hazards encountered by student riders during snowy, icy and other inclement weather conditions; slippery road conditions; and poor visibility.
  • Identify emergency equipment and exits
    • Have students point out the location of all emergency equipment - extinguisher, first aid kit, reflectors, etc.
    • Have students point out and open all exits and passenger door.
    • Explain the danger of playing with emergency exits.
  • Demonstrate how to stop, secure, and shut off the bus
  • Explain why students should know the bus number and route
  • Demonstrate how to use the bus radio.

2.   Review Emergency Evacuation Procedures

Show students how to evacuate the bus safely. Practice at least one type of evacuation per each required drill.

  • *Practice evacuation: Front Door
    • Note: Shut off and secure the bus and activate red flashers during the evacuation practice.
    • Insist on an orderly practice evacuation. Student helpers should get off first and wait on both sides of the front passenger door to keep students moving and prevent students from falling down the stairs.
    • Students should leave book-bags and all other personal items on the bus.
    • Point out a safe area for students to gather outside the bus;
    • Ask students to “buddy up.” Younger students should hold hands as they move away from the bus.
  • Practice Evacuation: Rear Door
    • Shut off and secure the bus and activate red flashers during the evacuation practice
    • To prevent injuries, insist on an orderly, “seat-by-seat” practice evacuation.
    • Student helpers should serve as outside “spotters” during the evacuation practice, outside the rear door. Helpers should get off first.
    • Require all students to “sit and slide” from the emergency door - never let students jump out the door or engage in horseplay during the practice.
    • Students should leave book bags and all other personal items on the bus.
    • Point out a safe area for students to gather outside the bus
    • Ask students to “buddy up.” Younger students should hold hands as they move away from the bus.
  • Practice Evacuation: Split Evacuation
    • Note: Shut off and secure the bus and activate red flashers during the evacuation practice.
    • Divide your students into half front to rear. Those in the front half of the bus go out the front door, and those in the back half go out the rear door - make sure students know where they are to evacuate before the evacuation starts.
    • Insist on an orderly, seat-by-seat, practice evacuation.
    • Student helpers should go out the rear door before other students, and should “spot” for other students exiting the rear door.
    • Remind students to leave book bags and all other personal items on the bus.
    • Point out a safe area for students to gather outside the bus.
    • Ask students to “buddy up.” Younger students should hold hands as they move away from the bus.

3.   SAFE LOADING AND UNLOADING DEMONSTRATION

After the evacuation, practice is over, gather the students in front of the bus and demonstrate safe crossing.

  • let students point out Danger Zones
  • review your operation’s “Safe to Cross” and “Danger - Go Back!” signals;
  • remind students never to try retrieving something they’ve dropped near the bus, and never to run after a missed bus;
  • Explain the dangers of drawstrings or other dangling clothing.

4.   CONCLUDE THE DRILL

If the students paid attention and did a good job, remember to thank them! Thank any teachers or school officials who assisted or observed. Distribute the “Letter to Parents” for students to take home.

Reporting Completion of a School Bus Drill

* For classroom instruction, “practice” can be done through role modeling, demonstration or video, depending on availability. A school bus company or in some cases an OPT representative may be able to assist in classroom instruction if scheduled in advance.

End-of-Year Procedures

Determining Eligibility Changes for ATS Users

Specific groups of students will change eligibility as they advance in grade. Schools should communicate these changes in advance whenever possible.

1. Students advancing from grade 2 to grade 3: B distance with no active IEP

  • Change: No longer eligible for Yellow Bus (student may request a MetroCard in the Fall)
  • Please Note: There is no change in eligibility for the following students currently in grade 2:
    • a. Students with distance code C or D
    • b. Students with an active IEP that does not mandate transportation
2. Students advancing from grade 6 to grade 7: C distance with no active IEP
  • Change: No longer eligible for Yellow Bus (student may request a MetroCard in the Fall)
  • There is no change in eligibility for the following students currently in grade 6:
    • Students with an active IEP that does not mandate transportation

Schools can use data on the TLST screen to identify the specific students in order to inform families

1. Sort TLST data by grade

2. Scan each page and note students who will be affected by this change

3. Use provided letter or your school’s existing memo to inform families

Non-Public Schools Emergency Closures

Non-public and charter schools should follow the guidelines below for handling weather-related emergencies as well as other emergencies that may impact transportation. Schools with DOE school bus transportation must have an emergency closure plan on file with OPT. In that plan, schools must detail their parent notification procedure for closures and delays. Encourage families to check the OPT website for weather updates during the winter months.

When DOE schools close due to inclement weather, bus transportation will not be provided to any school.

If you decide to close your school due to inclement weather, follow one of these steps:

  • Notify OPT of your school closure using email: weatheremergencyOPT@schools.nyc.gov. Include your name, contact information, and OPT school code(s).
  • Email before 5:30 AM in the morning
  • Notify OPT of your plans to close school by calling OPT Customer Service: (718) 392-8855. An agent will ask for your name, contact information and OPT school code(s).
  • You must contact OPT by 7 PM the evening before.

When we receive your message, OPT will notify bus vendors to suspend service for the next day.

To requests for delayed opening or early dismissal, follow one of these steps:

  • Notify OPT of your school closure using email: weatheremergencyOPT@schools.nyc.gov. Include your name, contact information, and OPT school code(s).
  • Notify OPT of your plans to close school by calling OPT Customer Service: (718) 392-8855. An agent will ask for your name, contact information and OPT school code(s).
  • These requests must be approved by OPT.

OPT staff will contact you if your request can be accommodated.

In the event that you decide to close your school on the day of a weather event, you must contact your bus vendor and inform parents before 5:30 AM.

After contacting the vendor and parents, follow one of these steps:

  • Notify OPT of your school closure using email: weatheremergencyOPT@schools.nyc.gov.
  • Include your name, contact information, and OPT school code(s) and confirm that the vendor and parents have been notified
  • Notify OPT of your plans to close school by calling OPT Customer Service: (718) 392-8855. An agent will ask for your name, contact information and OPT school code(s) and will ask you to confirm that the vendor and parents have been notified.

Other Emergency School Closures

If your school must be closed due to a building safety or mechanical issue

  • Notify OPT of your plans to close school by calling OPT Customer Service: (718) 392-8855
  • Call as soon as possible: an agent will ask you to provide your name, contact information and OPT school code(s)
  • Notify your Borough/ City-wide Office.

School Information Systems

Below are links, descriptions and instructions to the OPT applications used in the management of several operations for Public, Charter and Non-Public Schools.

For username and password help, call (718) 392-8855 and ask for username / password help or email TransportSchedule@schools.nyc.gov. If you send an email, please provide your name, your contact information, your school’s name, and the school's ATS or OPT code. Please note that we can only email the username and password to the principal of the school.

Rider Information

Applications and requests

Reference

Transportation Support for Public Schools

When to Contact your Transportation Liaison

Your borough/citywide office’s transportation liaison is your source of support for busing, MetroCard, student eligibility, field trips, and other transportation topics. Your borough/citywide office also provides transportation professional development for school staff responsible for transportation.   

Find your school’s transportation liaison.

Contact your borough/ citywide transportation liaison for:

  • Application Training & Access
  • Bus is arriving late to school
  • Bus is overloaded
  • Field Trips
  • Student eligibility check
  • Help with MetroCard inventory
  • Help with entering stop or MetroCard information
  • Issues with the driver and/or attendant
  • Session time Assistance

When to Contact a Bus Company​

Contact a bus company for:

  • A bus has not arrived at our school AM/PM and school has already started/ended
  • We need Pick-Up and/or Drop-Off Time for a specific student

When to Contact Us

Contact us at 718-482-3800 or email us when:  

  • Bus has not arrived at school in the AM/PM
  • Bus Equipment Malfunction 
  • Route Change Request
  • A child is placed on a wrong bus
  • Issue with a driver, attendant, bus company, parent and/or student  ​

Follow the DOE’s protocol for when a child goes missing. For emergencies, always contact 911.

Transportation Support for Pre-K & EI Sites

When to Contact your Program’s Office

The following Early Childhood program offices provide Pre-K & EI programs with transportation information and support:

Contact your program’s Committee on Preschool Special Education office or Early Intervention regional office when

  • Our site needs to know if an adult has been approved to accompany a child
  • A child is not showing in the Pre-K/EI Rider System

When to Contact a Bus Company​

Contact a bus company for:

  • Bus is overloaded
  • A copy of route ridership is needed
  • Our site needs a child's bus route information; including bus company name or phone number, pick-up/drop off location, sequence, start date etc.
  • Our site needs to know the specific location of a bus
  • Our site needs to know a child’s pick-up or drop off time

 When to Contact Us

Contact us at 718-392-8855 or email us when:  

  • Application Training & Access
  • Bus is arriving late to school
  • Bus has not arrived for pick up after the school day has started
  • Child left at school
  • Issue with a driver, attendant, bus company, parent and/or student 
  • A child is riding beyond the recommended guidelines
  • A child was injured on the bus
  • A child was placed on the wrong bus

For emergencies, always contact 911.

Transportation Support for Charter & Non-Public Schools

When to Contact your Transportation Account Manager

Your transportation account manager is your source of support for busing, MetroCard, student eligibility, field trips, and other transportation topics, and can provide transportation professional development for charter & non-public school staff responsible for transportation. Transportation account managers are

Contact your transportation account manager for

  • Application Training & Access
  • Bus is arriving late to school
  • Bus is overloaded
  • Field Trips
  • Student eligibility checks
  • Help with checking MetroCard inventory
  • Help with entering stop or MetroCard information
  • Issues with the driver and/or attendant
  • Help with Session Times

When to Contact a Bus Company​

Contact a bus company when:

  • Our school needs to know the exact location of the bus
  • We need to know a specific student’s pick-up or drop off time

When to Contact Us

Contact us at 718-392-8855 or email us when:  

  • A bus has not arrived for pick up after the school day has started/ended
  • On-going delays for bus arrival and/or pick up
  • A student is riding too long
  • A bus capacity/overcrowding issue
  • A student injured on the bus
  • Issue with driver/attendant
  • A student placed on the wrong bus

For emergencies, always contact 911.

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