San José Unified offers school transportation to students who are eligible. Students must live within District boundaries to be eligible for transportation. Elementary school students (grades TK-5) who do not attend a magnet, charter, International Baccalaureate (IB), and/or Two-Way Bilingual Immersion (TWBI) school are eligible for transportation if they live 1.5 miles or more from their school of attendance.
Elementary students who attend a magnet, IB or TWBI school may be provided transportation on a courtesy basis as routes and space are available. Transportation for eligible students attending a district charter school is only provided from within the school’s attendance boundary. Students attending most secondary schools (grades 6-12) are eligible for transportation if they live 3.5 miles or more from their school of attendance.Top
How to Apply
A transportation application must be completed on an annual basis and must be on file and approved before the student can receive transportation services.
Applications are also available at the Enrollment Center at the District Office, 855 Lenzen Ave., San José, CA 95126. Once your application has been processed and approved, your student will be assigned a bus pass.
- Transportation Fees
Families may be required to pay a fee to receive transportation services. Fees that have not been paid in prior years will prevent an application for the current year from being approved. Service will be provided by school bus, VTA, or other means of transportation at the district’s discretion.
Bus Routes & Stops
Each school bus has a route number posted on both sides of the bus. It is important that students learn their route numbers. Bus stops are typically placed at a specific corner or address. Check the stop description on your student’s bus pass for more information.
- Arrive On Time
Please ensure that your student is at the bus stop at least five minutes prior to the current published departure time. If the bus is on time, it will leave the stop at the published time. The bus will not leave early. Students who miss the bus at their designated stop must travel to the next available stop or find their own transportation to or from school on that day.
- Safety at Bus Stops
If a student needs to cross the street to get to or from their bus stop, they should use a signal-controlled intersection whenever possible. If the bus stop is not at or near a signal-controlled intersection, the student must be escorted by the driver when the bus is at the bus stop.
Students should wait for direction from the driver and should not cross the street until directed to do so. At that time, they should cross between the driver and the bus.
- Change of Route
From time to time, the Transportation Department will make changes to bus routes to improve efficiency and better serve our students. Parents and students will be notified of these changes via a ParentLink/Blackboard message and/or a paper notification from a bus driver. Special education students will be notified by their driver.
Parents are encouraged to maintain up-to-date contact information with the Enrollment Center to ensure you receive timely notification of route changes and other important and valuable information.
- Change of Stop
A student is required to board and disembark every day at the bus stop that was assigned to them by the Transportation Department and is printed on their bus pass or the driver’s roster. If a student wants to board at a different stop in the morning for one day only, their parent must call the Transportation Department for authorization. To disembark at a different stop, they must have a note from their parent, signed by the principal or designee of the school, and given to the driver of the bus.
- Activity Runs and Special Schedules
Certain schools have buses that transport students home after the school’s normal dismissal time. Other schools may have special schedules at different times during the year. For efficiency, the Transportation Department maintains a list of stops that are equivalent to each other, where one stop is used interchangeably with the other, to service students living in a particular area
In order to get the students home as quickly as possible, the bus will use one stop or the other depending on, among other factors, direction of travel of the bus. Students and parents must understand the bus may drop them off at a different, but equivalent, stop than where they are normally dropped off. Contact the Transportation Department for specific information on what stops are used in your area.
With the exception of kindergartners and certain students with special needs, all students are considered to be “self-release” and able to walk home by themselves. Students will be released by the bus driver at the current published drop-off time, regardless of whether a parent or guardian is at the stop to meet the child, unless a form requesting the student be held on the bus has been completed annually and signed by a Transportation Administrator.
- Special Needs
Students with special needs who have a self-release form on file are expected to use a transitional or community/corner stop. Kindergarten parents should be ready to pick up their student at least five minutes before the published arrival time in the afternoon. Other students may also be required to be met at the bus stop per arrangement with the bus driver.
- Undeliverable Students
If a parent or guardian is not at the bus stop at the published arrival time, the student is unwilling to depart the bus, the student is not self-release, and/or the parent has completed a form to hold the student on the bus unless the student is met, the student will not be released and will be deemed “undeliverable”.
- Holding Schools
Kindergartners and certain students with special needs who are not met at the bus stop may be taken to a holding school that is convenient for the bus. Families whose student has been taken to the holding school more than once, or who is not picked up in a reasonable amount of time, may be referred to the authorities.
Student Safety and Conduct
Students riding on a bus equipped with seat belts are required to wear them at all times. For safety, most buses are also equipped with a video and audio surveillance system, as well as GPS tracking systems. These systems allow the district to check where a bus was/is at any point in time.
For more information about expectations for student conduct, discipline, and emergency procedures, please refer to the Transportation Information section of the Student Handbook
- Safety Instruction
At least once each school year, all students who receive home-to-school transportation on a school bus will receive safety instruction.This includes but is not limited to: loading and unloading procedures; passenger conduct; driver escorts; safe road crossings; evacuation and location of emergency equipment; and the passenger restraint system (if applicable).
Students are expected to have used the toilet before boarding the bus. It is impractical and unlawful for a driver to allow a student off the bus at a place other than their bus stop or school to use a restroom.
If a student is ill, and is the only one at a stop, please contact the Transportation Dispatch office at (408) 535-6185. They will contact the driver to let them know not to go to that stop. Drivers are forbidden from using their phones while driving.
- Personal Items
Each item a student takes to school must be clearly marked with the student’s name. In case of lost items, check with your school or the bus driver. San José Unified is not responsible for personal electronics, cell phones, or any other belongings.
- Prohibited Items
The following are not permitted on a school bus: animals, glass containers, balloons, skateboards, scooters, and laser pointers. Prior permission from the Transportation Department is required to transport large items.
Transporting Students with Special Needs
This booklet contains essential information about how San José Unified transports students with special needs. Besides providing background about the Transportation Department, there are also rules, guidelines and policies that help us to provide safe, successful and on-time transportation for your student.
Services for Outside Groups
Schools and groups outside of San José Unified who wish to use Transportation Department services on field trips must complete and submit an application along with other required documents. The application must be approved by our Board of Education before any service can be provided.
San José Unified School District
2222 Unified Way
San José, CA 95125
Phone: (408) 535-6185
Fax: (408) 535-2331