District Departments » PUSD Transportation » Field Trip Information

Field Trip Information

Field Trip Scheduler 858-748-0010 ext 2051

Field Trip Information

The Transportation Department annually conducts and coordinates over 2,000 academic and athletic field trips in support of the District’s educational programs.

The primary function of the Transportation Department remains home-to-school pupil transportation. Between 6:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. all PUSD school buses and school bus drivers are fully committed to transporting students to and from school. After 9:00 a.m., and before the afternoon dismissal begins at 1:00 p.m., up to 13 general education school buses and school bus drivers are available for field trips; trips should be scheduled around this window of availability. Because secondary schools have late start times on Wednesdays, availability is limited before 10:00 a.m.

Bus Capacity Considerations

The vast majority of our fleet buses are rated for a 78-passenger capacity, at three occupants per seat. This standard is used for elementary school students, though at least one seat’s capacity is reduced by the need for an adult chaperone on each bus. For secondary school field trips, we limit seating to only two per seat, which reduces the capacity of the standard 78-passenger bus to 52 students, less the number of adult chaperones. If you are unable to provide adult chaperones for sixth-grade camp trips, we will provide an additional school bus driver to serve as a chaperone. Trip billing will include the cost of additional drivers. Due to the long distances for sixth-grade camp trips, we restrict the seating on these trips to two students per seat.

Charter buses

Sometimes a charter bus, rather than a PUSD school bus, may be required or desired. If a charter bus is used, the cost of the charter service will be charged.  Use of charter buses must be coordinated through the Transportation Department to ensure use of a District approved charter service.  In the spring, these services become fully booked, so it is important to plan early in the school year to confirm the availability of bus transportation. Most charter companies require seven days’ notice to cancel a trip without charge once it has been confirmed.


Special Equipment Requirements

When students with disabilities attend a field trip and require a specially equipped school bus (wheelchair, child safety restraint system, etc.) a separate request must be entered in Tripfinder. Each bus requires an adult chaperone, and staff is encouraged to include additional riders as well. Because many PUSD school buses serving students with disabilities have mid-day assignments, it is more difficult to predict the size of the bus that will be assigned prior to the day before the trip. Include the required special equipment in the trip request. Any wheelchairs that will be used in the transportation of students must be inspected by the Transportation Department prior to the day of the trip.


Scheduling Issues

It is essential that buses returning students from field trip locations in the early afternoon time frame leave on time, as these buses are required to return to District schools and perform their afternoon school-to-home transportation. Similarly, buses taking groups to a destination in the early afternoon must depart on time so they are able to return in time to perform their afternoon school-to-home runs. A five or ten minute delay could make our buses late for the afternoon pickup, and affect hundreds of students at multiple schools who will then be late getting home from school.

T-19’s and the Tripfinder Activity Trip Software

Field Trip requests must be entered into Tripfinder 17 working days before the date of the requested trip. Trips should be entered as soon as possible to mitigate scheduling conflicts. When both the PUSD school bus fleet and PUSD approved charter companies are unavailable, specific dates will be blocked for further field trip scheduling. 
T-19s are to be submitted for all trips, including out-of-county field trips and field trips in which non-bus transportation will be used:
  • Out-of-county field trip T-19s must be submitted to Learning Support Services for approval
  • For trips requesting school or charter bus transportation, a T-19 including the site administrator’s approval must be attached to the trip request as it is entered into Tripfinder
  • Approved T-19s for non-bus field trips are submitted to the Field Trip Scheduler ([email protected]) in the Transportation Department 
If a requested destination is not found in Tripfinder, contact Transportation at [email protected] with all destination information so it can be added.
When a bus with special equipment is required, a separate entry into the Tripfinder system must be made to ensure proper coordination of the request.

Cancellations, Changes, and Coordination

As mentioned above, cancellation of charter bus services requires at least a seven day notice to avoid a minimum charge.  For PUSD school buses, notification must be made before the bus arrives at the school site to avoid the $200.00 minimum charge.  Once a field trip begins, a driver cannot approve any changes to the planned itinerary; a school site administrator must notify the Transportation Department. The school bus may or may not stay at the field trip site depending upon operational need. It is important that school site representatives on the trip confirm departure time and location with school bus drivers before disembarking. Drivers are not authorized to make destination or time changes to any trip.  There is no expectation that school bus drivers be given free admission to the site or activity that students are attending.