FAQ

General Questions

Q: What's new in 2017/18?

1. AM and PM passes sold separately: For round trip travel, you will need to purchase an AM product and a PM product.  Each item will need to be added to your cart individually.  Double check your cart before check out! Passes are sold on a first come, first served basis. Waitlists will be set up for sold out routes.  Parents will be notified if a space becomes available.

2. Students riding in the PM will ride the same route daily: When you purchase your student’s PM bus pass for the 2017/18 school year, you will now have to choose a specific route. Your student will have a reserved seat on that route every day, however, they will not be able to switch to a different route.  Students may choose to get off at different stops only if they are served by their selected route.

This change is being made for several reasons to improve the yellow bus program.  Students will no longer have to rush to the bus at the end of the school day to get a seat on their desired bus.  Parents can expect their student to arrive at their destination around the same time each day.  Communication about service disruptions will be targeted to only those families affected by the delay. 

We have designed the routes to be efficient while also allowing flexibility for families that may need their student to go to different locations depending on the day of the week.  Passes are sold on a first come, first served basis. Waitlists will be developed for all full routes.

3. No Semester Passes: Due to declining demand, the Semester Pass product is no longer available.

4. Secondary Stops: Secondary stops along the purchased AM route can be chosen at checkout.  If you would like a secondary stop on a different route, please email your request to kzalewski@marintransit.org.  Secondary stops on other routes will be allowed only if space is available. Parents will be notified via email by August 14, 2017 if the secondary stop on a different route is approved.  To ensure access to a secondary stop along a different route, parents may purchase two AM passes for the same student.

5. Prices: Round trip travel annually costs $750.00.  AM and PM passes are sold separately at $375.00. This is equivalent to approximately $2.08 per trip.

Q: Does the Ross Valley School District provide transportation to general education students?

No. Ross Valley School District has never provided transportation services for its general education students, as it does not receive State funds to do so.

There is, however, a growing demand for home to school transportation services to combat traffic congestion.  Marin Transit's Yellow School Bus program, in partnership with the City of San Anselmo, the Town of Fairfax, and the County of Marin, provides students at White Hill Middle School and Hidden Valley Elementary School the opportunity to ride to and from school on a bus that’s been specifically designed for student transportation operated by drivers trained to service this population.

Q: Will the buses also serve students with special education needs?

A separate program exists for home to school transportation for special needs students. Please contact the Ross Valley School District office for more information and to find out what option is right for your student.

Q: How is the program funded?

Marin Transit's Yellow School Bus program that serves White Hill Middle School and Hidden Valley Elementary School receives funding from several key stakeholders including the County General Fund, Town of San Anselmo, and City of Fairfax. Marin Transit contributes an additional 24% toward offsetting the program cost. In total, these contributions cover a little under half of the program budget. The remaining costs of the program are funded through pass sales and other fees.

Q: Is the school district operating the buses?

No. RVSD is not funded, equipped, or staffed to operate transportation services. Marin Transit is contracting for the operations of the buses with a local school bus provider, Michael’s Transportation. Michael’s has over 35 years of experience in the industry and they currently operate yellow bus service for several other schools in Marin County, such as Marin Academy, Mark Day School, and Marin Primary, and throughout the Bay Area for both public and private schools.

Q: Who will be allowed to ride the bus?

The yellow bus services will be available students attending White Hill and Hidden Valley. Only students who have purchased a pass will be transported.  Routes will be specific to the school and students from different schools will not be mixed together. The general public is also not allowed on the bus.

Q: How safe are the buses?

School buses are some of the safest vehicle on the road today. According the National Safety Council Statistics, school buses are 172 times safer than passenger cars in terms of occupant deaths per 100 million passenger miles traveled. School buses rank much better than any other form of surface transportation.  In addition to the Michael’s regular maintenance program, California Highway Patrol (CHP) conducts annual terminal inspections and quarterly vehicle inspections.

Q: What are the qualifications of the drivers?

Michael’s drivers are fully certified, courteous, and professional, and trained at their own MTS Training Academy. This Academy is one of the only independent, state-certified driver training programs in California.

In addition to the commercial vehicle and passenger endorsements needed to drive a transit bus, Yellow bus drivers transporting students must also obtain a School Pupil Activity Bus (SPAB) certification. This certification process trains drivers on issues specific to student transportation and also includes fingerprinting and a background check.

Passes

Q: How do I buy a pass?

2017-18 passes will be sold starting Tuesday, May 23rd at 9:00 am and can be purchased online using a Visa, Master Card, American Express, or Discover credit card. AM and PM passes are sold separately this year.  For a round trip, you will need to choose an AM product plus a PM product and add them both to your cart before completing the check out procedure.

If you have an outstanding balance from the prior year's purchase, then you are not allowed to purchase a pass for the new school year until the outstanding balance has been paid.

Q: How much does it cost?

Annual passes are $375.00 each way, which breaks down to about $2.08 per trip. All passes can be purchased online using a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover credit card.

Annual (AM & PM) Annual (one-way)
Total $750.00 $375.00
Per Month
(includes a $2/month/pass processing fee)
$79.00 (x10) $39.50 (x10)

Parents will have the option to pay the full amount at once or pay over 10 months. If selecting a monthly payment option, the first monthly payment will be processed to your card upon placing your order. A $2 per month per pass processing fee is included in the monthly price. The remaining payments will be charged as follows on the first of the month starting on September 1, 2017. The last payment will be due on May 1, 2018.

Families that qualify for the free or reduced lunch program and are in need of a bus pass can fill out an application form here. For questions about eligibility, please contact Teri Louer (415-451-4066) at the Ross Valley School District office.

Q: Are there discounts for multi-child families?

Not at this time. Discounts will be considered for future years.

Q: Are there limited seats available?

Yes. Each school and each route has a limited number of seats available for sale and routes will close once all seats are purchased. Purchasing your seat early will help ensure your student gets a seat. You will have the option to join a waitlist for available seats if buses sell out.

Q: Do you pro-rate the price of the pass during the year?

Yes. If you move to the area or decide to use the bus after the year begins, passes will be pro-rated based on the number of months left in the school year. However, availability of these passes is based on unsold seats and are not guaranteed.

Q: When will I receive my student’s pass?

White Hill: Your student’s pass will be included with your registration paperwork and picked up prior to the start of school. Passes not picked up during registration will be available through the school’s administration office.

Hidden Valley: Your student's pass will be mailed to the mailing address that you provide at check out.

Q: Do kids need to show a pass to board the bus?

Yes. Students will receive a bus-specific pass based on the bus stop and route selected at the time of purchase. Students must carry this pass whenever they ride the bus, even if the driver already knows them.

Q: What if my child loses the bus pass?

If your child has lost his/her pass, you can purchase a replacement pass for $10. Once purchased, the school coordinator (see below for contact info) will provide your child with a temporary pass, which can be used until a new pass is ready. Passes are available for purchase online here.

Hidden Valley:
Teresa Machado
(415) 454-7409

White Hill:
Jennifer Karr
(415) 454-8390

Q: Do you sell single use or weekly passes?

Single day passes will be offered to/from Hidden Valley for $4.00 per trip and available only if seats are available. However, these quantities will be limited and only available on a first come, first served basis. These passes can be purchased through the school’s attendance office.

This product is not available for White Hill service as there is no capacity.

Q: Can I get a refund?

There are no refunds, including a situation where the student’s bus pass has been revoked due to not following the rules. The only exception is if your child moves away from the District. Your refund will be pro-rated based on the number of months left in the school year.

Q: Does a pass entitle my student to ride any yellow bus he/she chooses?

No, all passes are specific to a bus and route. In the AM, the driver expects your student to board at your selected stop. In the PM, students may get off at any stop along their designated route.

For the 2017/18 school year, when you purchase your student’s PM bus pass you will now have to choose a specific route. Your student will have a reserved seat on that route every day, however, they will not be able to switch to a different route. 

This change is being made for several reasons to improve the yellow bus program.  Students will no longer have to rush to the bus at the end of the school day to get a seat on their desired bus.  Parents can expect their student to arrive at their destination around the same time each day.  Communication about service disruptions will be targeted to only those families affected by the delay. 

We have designed the routes to be efficient while also allowing flexibility for families that may need their student to go to different locations depending on the day of the week.  Passes are sold on a first serve, first come basis. Waitlists will be developed for all full routes.

Bus Operations

Q: Where and when does the bus stop in my neighborhood?

Routes generally use the existing public transit bus stops in Ross Valley, in addition to Memorial park in San Anselmo. Parents need to designate their desired stop when purchasing a pass.

Q: When does the bus arrive at school?

All routes are timed to arrive at school 10-15 minutes before the start of the first class. Bus routes to White Hill will serve (0) period and (1) period bells.

Q: When does the bus leave school?

Routes are designed to leave approximately 10 minutes after the release bell. However, departure times at White Hill are longer due to the high number of students using the bus, the staggered departure times, and the limited parking at the school site. There will be no afternoon bus service for Kindergarten dismissal times at Hidden Valley.

Q: What about Early Release and Minimum Days?

Routes will adjust to meet early release and minimum days at all school served. The School District will actively coordinate with Marin Transit and Michael’s to ensure buses are available when students need transportation. There will be no afternoon bus service for Kindergarten dismissal times.

Q: Why do you want children at the stop 5 minutes early?

State law requires drivers to stop traffic and escort children to the bus if they are not already standing at the stop. This delays our schedules and annoys the neighbors. We also don't want your kids to miss the bus by cutting it too close in the morning. Our drivers try hard to stick to the published schedule, but sometimes things happen and they just can't be that precise.

Q: What if my child misses the bus?

That does sometimes happen to some kids so please be prepared. Every family should have a backup plan where kids have a way to contact a parent or neighbor that can get them to school, or that they can notify if they plan to walk.

Q: What if the bus is late?

This sometimes happens due to traffic or mechanical problems. Parents can sign-up to be notified via text message notification if any bus is running late. Our bus operator would have a replacement bus on the way in case of a significant mechanical problem. To check on a late bus call Marin Transit’s School Operations Analyst, Kelly Zalewski, at 415-226-0872.

Q: Who do I call if there is a problem?

If it involves Lost & Found or any issue relating directly to a bus or driver, contact Marin Transit's School Operations Analyst, Kelly Zalewski, at 415-226-0872.

Riding Privileges

Q: Can my child be assigned to more than one route?

All students are assigned to one route and one stop.

Q: Can my child get off at a different stop?

Drivers expect students to only travel to/from their assigned stop. This is done for safety reasons and allows the drivers to better monitor students.

Q: Can my child bring a friend home on the bus?

Yes, if the student has a yellow bus pass. If the student does not have a pass, single ride passes can be purchased online here and are based on availability.

Safety

Q: What if my child has to cross the street?

Marin Transit will work with Michael’s following the bus pass sign-up period to identify safe and convenient bus stops. Service will be provided along both sides of Butterfield Road to eliminate the need for students to cross to get to or from a bus stop. Efforts will be made at other stops in Ross Valley to site them near a safe crossing. If needed, yellow buses also have the ability to stop oncoming traffic and allow the student to cross in front of the bus.

Q: Can riders open the windows?

Yes, kids are allowed to open the windows, except when common sense or the bus driver dictates otherwise.

Q: Can riders stick anything out the windows?

No. No part of a child's body should ever extend through a window, and no item of any kind may be thrown out a window.

Discipline

Q: How is discipline carried out onboard the bus?

Drivers are responsible for maintaining proper student supervision and monitoring of all student onboard. Drivers are assigned to a specific route and you and your student should expect the same driver every day.

Q: What happens if a child doesn't follow the rules?

A verbal warning will first be issued to the student by the Driver and documented with the school coordinator. If the student continues to violate student behavior guidelines, then an Incident Report Form will be filed and sent to the school. The school may take appropriate disciplinary action and the riding privilege can either be suspended or permanently revoked without refund.

Q: Can my bus pass be taken away?

Yes. If your child does not respond to the progressive discipline assigned, your pass may be suspended or revoked without refund.

Q: Are parents financially responsible for vandalism?

Yes, parents/guardians are financially responsible for vandalism caused by their child.

Q: What if my child is being bullied?

Contact your school principal or the school transportation coordinator (contact info here) immediately.

Q: What if my child is accused of bullying?

Your child may be entered into a progressive discipline process. If bullying is happening and does not cease, your child may be temporarily suspended from the bus, and/or may have the annual pass revoked without refund.