6600 18 Mile Road
Sterling Heights, MI 48314
Lisa Keyes, Transportation Manager
With a staff of 265 employees, we provide transportation service to nearly 21,000 students. These students attend general education, special education and non-public programs in 52 schools, located both within and outside the UCS boundary. We are also responsible for transportation services to more than 3,300 off-site learning experiences and athletic trips each year.
Each year, all school buses must pass a strict vehicle safety inspection by a Michigan State Police Vehicle Inspector. We employ 11 district mechanics to service our fleet of 245 buses. During the 2012-2013 school year, our buses traveled approximately 3,436 million miles and used approximately 430,000 gallons of fuel. In addition to buses, our mechanics provide service for approximately 75 other district-owned vehicles used by maintenance, grounds, warehouse and other district departments.
Who is eligible to ride the bus?
Any student who resides more than 1.5 miles from their school is eligible to ride the school bus. School-of-choice and in-district transfer students do not qualify for bus service.
My children go to a child care provider, can they receive bus service?
Students may receive transportation from an alternate address, providing they meet all of the criteria listed below:
- The alternate address must be within the same school's attendance boundary
- The alternate stop must be for all five days a week
- The alternate stop must be an existing stop on the bus run
- The desired alternate bus run cannot be within ten percent of load capacity
- Transportation eligibility is determined by the student's home address
Any student who wishes to receive and qualifies for transportation from an alternate address must complete a "Request for Alternate Address Busing Form". These forms are available in your school's office or at the Transportation Department. The Transportation Department must approve service before alternate service can begin.
Any damage to the bus becomes the responsibility of the student who did the damage. Please see the UCS School Handbook for additional information about riding the bus to school.
Why are safety rules so important on the bus?
The bus driver is required to watch the road ahead, be aware of traffic conditions on the side and from behind, and anticipate the actions of other drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. The driver's attention should not be distracted by unnecessary student activity. Appropriate student behavior and cooperation are essential for the safety of everyone.
- Arrive approximately 10 minutes before the scheduled arrival time of the bus at your assigned bus stop
- Students should not be inside vehicles waiting for the bus - this creates a danger when students get out of cars and run for the bus
- Wait in line and board the bus in an orderly manner and remain seated at all times
- Keep all objects including heads, arms and hands inside the bus and to yourself
- Keep carry-ons, book bags, instruments and athletic equipment out of the aisle
- No cell phones or other electronic communication devices are allowed on the bus
- No eating, drinking or gum chewing and no smoking on the bus
- Treat the bus, equipment and other people with respect. Be courteous and speak quietly
- Remain seated until the bus comes to a complete stop
- Exit the bus in an orderly manner and only at the assigned bus stop
Only authorized students may ride. Walkers are not eligible to ride the bus except for field trips.
What is a student's responsibility on the school bus?
Children who ride the bus must not jeopardize their own safety or the safety of others. Busing is a privilege which will be denied if students do not follow bus safety rules.
While riding on the school bus, students should remember that the bus driver is not only responsible for the bus, but has complete authority and responsibility to control the conduct of the bus passengers while in transit. All students must follow the instructions given by the driver. If, at anytime, in the judgment of the driver, a student fails to follow instructions and violates the safety requirements, the driver will issue a written referral. The referral will be processed by the school administrator.
What can my child bring on the school bus?
Students should only bring items onto the bus that can be held comfortably in their lap. Items cannot be placed on the floor, under the seat, in the aisle or near the emergency door.
These items are not allowed on the bus:
Glass of any kind, animals, helium balloons, skateboards. Food and beverages may not be consumed while on the bus. Smoking is not allowed.
If your student has a fragile object or project that needs to get to or from school, it is suggested that a parent transport the item to avoid possible damage caused in transit.
When driving in my car, what should I do when I come to a stopped bus?
- When the yellow overhead lights are flashing, prepare to stop
- When the red overhead lights are flashing, stop no closer than 20 feet from the bus
- When the red overhead lights are turned off, proceed
- When a bus is completely off the road and the yellow hazard warning lights at the middle portion of the back of the bus are flashing, proceed with caution
By all means, please watch out for children!
What is required to become an UCS bus driver?
Before being hired, each new driver trainee must pass a Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) physical and drug screen, a state police background check including fingerprinting and also a driver's license check.
Bus Drivers certifications and standards are mandated by both the state and federal D.O.T. Each driver must pass an annual D.O.T. physical and is subject to random drug and alcohol testing throughout the year. All school bus drivers employed by Utica Community Schools must possess a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with a "B" endorsement (for vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds), a "P" endorsement for passengers, an “S” endorsement for transporting students and an air brake endorsement. Every other year each driver must attend a state-mandated Advanced Bus Driver class held at the Macomb Intermediate School District.
What kind of training do bus drivers receive?
New driver trainees receive approximately 120 hours of training with a school bus trainer over a three-week period. Trainees drive a minimum of 250 miles. In addition to driving and pre-trip skills training, their training includes emergency procedures, student pick up and drop off procedures, school bus stop procedures, behavior management and radio procedures.
When are drivers ready to take on a route?
Before they are allowed to drive students, trainees are tested by a Michigan State Certified Third-Party Examiner. This test includes a 140-item pre-trip inspection, on-road driving (including student pick up and drop off procedures), practical driving experience (freeway, rural, urban and railroad crossing procedures) and emergency procedures including flare, triangle and fire extinguisher usage.
What is a bus driver's day like?
A driver's day can begin shortly before 6 a.m. Most bus driver's routes consist of a high school, junior high and elementary run each morning and afternoon. Additionally, our drivers provide service for noontime kindergarten runs, shared time, Utica Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology, Utica Center for Science and Industry, field trips and various other programs.
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