Our mission is to safely transport passengers in an efficient manner to and from all learning experiences. To fulfill our mission we will provide professionally trained experienced employees, using quality well-maintained vehicles and staying current with all laws and safety standards. Fundamental to our mission are effective communications, teamwork, professional and progressive attitudes, openness to change and mutual respect for all.
Field Trip Information
The drivers and staff of the Transportation Department love to do field trips for the students of PUSD, and each year we conduct/coordinate over 2,000 academic and athletic field trips in support of the District’s educational program. We can do most field trips for one-half to one-third the cost of a charter company, so by using a school bus, school sites can stretch their field trip budgets even further.
As much as we enjoy doing field trips, the primary function of the Transportation Department remains home-to-school and school-to-home transportation of school children. Between 6:30 and 8:45 in the morning and between 1:30 and 4:00 in the afternoon, all of our buses and school bus drivers are fully committed to carrying students to and from school. After 8:45, and before the afternoon dismissal begins at 1:30, up to 36 regular-ed buses and school bus drivers are available for field trips, so we ask schools to schedule their trips around this window of availability. Because two high schools and one middle school have late start times on Mondays, it is difficult for us to provide a bus before 9:30 on Monday mornings. This is especially true for sixth grade camp trips and is one of the reasons the luggage vehicle can’t get to school early for the Monday mornings departure.
Bus Capacity Considerations
The vast majority of our fleet consists of 78 passenger buses, so this is the number of students per bus that we plan for grades K-8. This assumes that there will be three students per seat, but schools need to factor in at least one adult chaperone which reduces the number of students that can be carried. For high school field trips, we limit seating to only two per seat which reduces the capacity of the standard 78 passenger bus to only 52 high school students, less the number of adult chaperones. If a school is unable to provide adult chaperones, we will provide an additional school bus driver, but the cost will reflect the expense of an additional driver. Due to the long distances for sixth-grade camp trips, we restrict the seating on these trips to two students per seat as well.
Sometimes a school may need or desire a charter bus rather than a school bus, but if a charter bus is requested, the school will be charged the cost of the charter service. The use of charter buses must be coordinated through the Transportation Department. Be aware that schools are only allowed to contract with charter services which have been approved by the Transportation Department. In the spring, these services become fully booked, so it is important to make field trip plans early in the year to confirm the availability of bus transportation. Most charter companies require 7 days notice to cancel a trip without charge once it has been confirmed.
If there will be children attending a field trip who would require a special needs school bus, schools need to make a separate request. Because most of our special needs buses have mid-day assignments, it is harder for us to predict the size of the special needs bus that will be assigned to the trip until the day before the trip. We do encourage that other children ride the bus with the special needs child and that an adult chaperone be provided for this bus as well. If additional special equipment is needed, please note that on the request. Any wheelchairs that will be used in the transportation of students need to be inspected by the Transportation Department.
It is essential that buses taking students to field trip locations in the 1:00 to 1:30 time frame leave on time, as we need these buses to return to district to perform their afternoon school-to-home transportation. A five or ten minute delay could make our buses late for the afternoon pickup, and affect hundreds of students who will be late getting home from school. We have a common problem with athletic trips leaving their site on time in the 1:00 to 1:30 time frame. Often these trips are leaving well before the necessary arrival time for their athletic event, so there doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency for leaving on time, but here again, the buses have to leave on time so they can return in time for their afternoon pickup runs.
T-19’s and the T.O.M. Field Trip Software
Field Trip requests should be entered into the T.O.M. field trip software 15 working days before the date of the requested trip.
T-19’s are still submitted to the district for out-of-district field trips and field trips in which non-bus transportation will be used. Out-of-district field trip T-19’s should be submitted to LSS for Board approval. T-19’s for non-bus field trips are submitted to the Field trip Scheduler in the Transportation Department. We encourage the continued internal use of T-19’s on campus by teachers requesting a field trip so that the principal’s approval will be recorded before the trip request is entered into the T.O.M. software.
If you are requesting a field trip to a destination that is not in the T.O.M. list of known destinations, please enter all of the destination information as you create a new entry.
As mentioned above, if there will be a need for a special needs bus, it requires a separate entry into the T.O.M. system to ensure that it receives the separate handling necessary to coordinate the special needs bus.
Cancellations, Changes and Coordination
As mentioned above, cancellation of charter bus services requires seven days notice to avoid a minimum charge. For PUSD school buses, you must notify us before the bus arrives at your school to avoid an $175.00 minimum charge. Once a field trip begins, any changes to the planned itinerary need the approval of a site administrator.
Depending upon the needs for other field trip support, the school bus may or may not stay at the field trip site. It is important that the school site representative on the trip confirm pickup time and location with the school bus drivers before departing the school buses. There is no expectation that school bus drivers be given free admission to the park or activity that the children are attending.