The GHAPS Transportation Department is committed to safely transporting students to and from school, and on school-sponsored events. We are dedicated to providing a positive, caring and safe environment.
- Grand Haven Area Public Schools covers 100 square miles
- We have 63 buses and travel an average of 1,000,000 miles a school year.
- We pick up and deliver to 18 schools daily.
- We transport 4,000 students each day.
- We make 3,000 student bus stops daily.
- Our office is open from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. school days.
Guidelines, Transfer Policy and Rules
Transportation - Guidelines, Transfer Policy and Rules
The staff of the Transportation Department is committed to safely transporting students to and from school and school-sponsored events. In providing this service, we are bound by set guidelines provided by the board of education. These guidelines define the level and limit of service that can be provided in keeping with cost-effective operation and services required to meet the educational needs of the school district’s students.
- Students residing within one (1) mile of their schools are not eligible for transportation.
- A bus stop for a student eligible for transportation can be up to, but no further than, one (1) mile from his/her residence.
- Buses are to operate at maximum seat usage, but within the rated capacity of the bus by type.
- A student’s riding time should not exceed one (1) hour.
- Transportation will not be provided for social activities (i.e. parties, social functions, go home with a friend, etc.)
- You must be at your bus stop five minutes prior to your scheduled pick-up time. Buses do not follow an exact time schedule due to varying traffic, weather and road conditions.
- Students suspended from school lose riding privileges for the duration of the suspension.
- School district transportation will not be used to transport students to or from work. With permission from parents and school administrators, students may get off their assigned buses at existing stops for the purpose of work.
- Items taken on the bus must be enclosed in a standard-sized tote bag or backpack. If your project or item that you need to get to school is too large for the backpack, you need to make arrangements to get to school or have the item dropped off at school for you.
Transportation for school-of-choice transfer students within and from outside the school district is provided on a space-available basis. To be considered, the following criteria must be met:
- Pick-up and take-home bus stops must be at existing stops along an existing route which services the school-of-choice area.
- The bus stop requested must be within one (1) mile safe walking distance from the student’s home or day care location.
- If you live east of US-31 and are concerned about your student walking across US-31 to get to Lakeshore, please call transportationand we will assign your child to a shuttle bus.
- If you live west of US-31 and are concerned about your student walking across US-31 to get to White Pines, please call transportation and we will get your child assigned to the shuttle bus.
- A “School of Choice Request for Bus Transportation” form has been submitted. This form is available at any Grand Haven Area Public Schools building.
- Please be at assigned bus stop on time.
- Please do not litter on the school bus.
- Please stay off the roadway, and maintain proper conduct while waiting for or leaving a school bus.
- Please get on and off at the designated stop. Changes must be approved in writing by a school authority.
- Please do not talk in a loud voice, shout or create any other disturbing noises.
- Please remain seated. The driver is authorized to assign seats.
- Please do not eat or drink on the school bus without permission.
- Please do not use profane, vulgar language, or make obscene gestures.
- Please cross in front of the bus, not in back.
- Please keep your head and hands inside the bus.
- Please do not throw objects on the bus or out of the window of the bus.
- Please obey instructions of and show respect to the driver.
- Please do not harass or bully others, or otherwise be unruly.
- Please do not fight.
- Please do not spit or bite.
- Please do not damage or vandalize the school bus. Students will be required to pay for repair of damage.
- Please do not possess or use flammable or explosive devices on the bus.
- Please do not possess or use illegal / dangerous substances/items on the bus.
- Please do not possess or use tobacco products on the bus. This includes any Vaping.
- Please do not record or take pictures of the students or the bus driver.
When a disciplinary problem occurs, the driver will fill out a “Report of Misconduct on School Vehicles” form. Two copies go home to the parent, one copy to the Transportation Director, and one copy goes to the school principal.
A set number of points are assessed for each rule violation and serve to determine the duration of suspension from bus riding privileges. When the period of suspension has been served, the student must return the pink copy of the form signed by a parent before he/she may resume riding the bus. Points are cumulative. Once 20 points have been accumulated, bus riding privileges are suspended for the remainder of the year.
Remember, bus transportation is a privilege. There is no requirement of law which mandates it be provided to you. It is a service we gladly provide to enhance the convenience of education for students and parents. What we ask in return is that students simply conduct themselves in a manner which is in keeping with the safety and due respect of others.
For more information, please contact the Transportation Department at 616.850.5150.
Frequently Asked Questions
Transportation - Frequently Asked Questions
We hope that you find this FAQ document helpful in addressing your bus stop, school bus or general transportation-related questions.
When and where can I review my child’s bus stop location and pick-up/drop-off information?
Bus stop information is available for eligible bus riders through two options. If your child is in White Pines, Lakeshore, or the High School - Please check Parentview first. If nothing is listed on Parentview - Please call Transportation at (616) 850-5150.
Why are there fewer individual stops and more “group stops” on the bus route?
In order to be efficient with limited public resources, school districts all across the state have had to scale back on the number of individual, curb-to-curb, bus stops largely because of economic reasons.
Is there a specified distance that must exist between school bus stops?
The “overhead yellow” lights on a school bus, which are used to notify other traffic of an upcoming stop, must, by law, be activated at least 200 feet from the designated bus stop. Bus stops must be at least 200 feet apart. There is no state law which specifies a maximum distance between stops.
Is there a law on the maximum distance a student has to walk to get to their assigned bus stop?
There is no law that specifies how far a child can walk to the bus stop.
The bus goes right by my house. Why can’t it stop and pick-up my child?
There are many factors which are taken into consideration when school administrators establish the placement of school bus stops. The basic legal factors are spelled out in MCL 257.1855, but the primary concern is visibility of the school bus to other traffic, and the consideration of stopping distances necessary for other motor vehicles in order to accomplish safe loading and unloading of the children. In general, on a highway or roadway, state law requires 400 feet of clear and continuous visibility where the speed limit is more than 35 miles per hour, and 200 feet of clear and continuous visibility where the speed limit is less than 35 miles per hour.
I live in a mobile home community / apartment complex. Where will the bus pick-up and drop-off my child?
For safety, buses generally pick-up and drop-off at “group stops” on private roads and driveways, just off from major roads and highways. For efficiency, buses generally do not weave in and around mobile home communities and apartment complexes. Most often, bus stops are centrally located to all students within a specified area. Whenever possible, bus stops are created to encourage students to approach and depart the bus to the front of the bus in the bus driver’s line of vision.
What about the safety of my child getting to and from the bus stop? There are no sidewalks where we live and the bus stop is out of the “sightline” from our home.
It is the responsibility of the parent/legal guardian to see that a child gets safely to and from the bus stop. The school district provides transportation as a non-mandated service and establishes placement of the bus stop in accordance with the requirements of the law.
My child is starting kindergarten. Will the bus pick my child up in front of my house?
Not necessarily. There are no special laws or regulations for transporting regular education students enrolled in kindergarten. Transportation is provided in accordance with the requirements of the Pupil Transportation Act with regard to the placement of the bus stop.
When should my child be at the bus stop in the AM?
Bus riders should be at their assigned bus stop at least TEN (10) minutes prior to the schedule pick-up time. This allows for some variation in the bus route due to unanticipated events.
Why do bus pick-up/drop-off times vary, especially at the beginning of the school year?
At the beginning of the school year, bus routes are developed for all eligible riders, not knowing who is and who is not going to ride. Routes are constructed with the best of intentions based on known information at the time when routes are developed. However, it is only after bus routes get underway that the Transportation Department learns where added efficiencies can be found. From the time bus information is made available to parents, about two (2) weeks prior to the start of school, until late September, bus pick-up and drop-off times may vary. Parents/guardians are asked to be patient as bus drivers learn their new routes and become familiar with their new students. Once the school year gets underway, buses generally run on time with exception to weather conditions, road construction, no adult present at the bus stop, students who become ill, mechanical problems, etc.
Do I have to stop when I see a school bus with its overhead “yellow” lights on?
The National Transportation Safety Administration says that upon activation of the overhead yellow lights, “…motorists should slow down and prepare to stop."
Do I have to stop when I see a school bus with its overhead “red” lights on?
Yes, you MUST stop. There is no provision in law to permit a motorist to pass a school bus with its overhead red lights on and stop arm(s) extended. The penalties for “running the overhead reds” in a “school bus zone” (20’ in any direction around the bus) are double, similar to traffic violations in a construction zone. Fines are expensive.
Who gets the ticket? Under current law, the registered owner of the vehicle is the presumed driver. You do not need to be identified to receive a ticket from the police – only the vehicle’s license plate number is needed to issue a traffic citation. Loss of life due to an accident while running the reds is a Class C felony offense. Don’t do it!
I saw a school bus performing a bus stop, picking up and dropping off students with just the emergency flashers on (the overhead yellow and red lights were never flashing at the bus stop). Is that legal? What should I do as a motorist?
Yes, it is both legal and safe. Under certain circumstances, when students are not crossing the road (right-hand drop only), Public Act 187 of 1990 allows what is called a “hazard light stop” to allow all traffic to continue, unimpeded, while the bus stop is being performed. This practice has reduced the potential of an accident by reducing the likelihood of an accident created by the mix of some motorists who stop for the bus and others who violate the overhead red light/stop arm law.
Motorists approaching a school bus that is performing a hazard light stop may proceed with passing the bus while it is picking up or discharging students. Motorists should always use care when doing so. In this type of stop, children are not allowed to cross the roadway. However, motorists should always be prepared for the unexpected and drive accordingly.
What is the safety record of school buses in Michigan?
Approximately 850,000 students are transported daily on about 17,000 buses within Michigan with no student fatality inside the bus as a result of a mechanical malfunction or multi-vehicle accident in over 20 years. That is like evacuating the City of Detroit, safely every day for over 20 years with no loss of life – an amazing safety record. Buses travel over 180 million miles annually in Michigan. This equates to traveling around the earth 7,228 times each year.
My child’s bus seems crowded. Can some students be placed on another bus?
For efficiency, buses are loaded with the attempt of utilizing all of the seating space provided on a bus. Buses have a maximum seat capacity as designed by the manufacturer. As long as student numbers do not exceed the rated capacity, the bus is not considered to be overloaded. (At the beginning of the school year, school buses may seem more crowded as the “legal limit” of eligible riders does not take effect until after the fourth Friday following Labor Day to allow schools to find efficiencies and to determine who is and who is not riding.)
As an adult, can I board and ride on the bus to monitor student behavior and help make the bus safer?
State law (Section 257.1859 of the Pupil Transportation Act) specifically prohibits school bus drivers from allowing any unauthorized person from riding on a school bus while transporting pupils to and or from school. For the protection of all students, a parent/guardian should NEVER BOARD a bus with students on board – it can be very frightening to bus riders and can startle the bus driver. In most cases, when authorized adults are assigned to monitor students that are being transported on a bus, they are fingerprinted and approved employees of the district who are assigned near the student or students who possess the greatest amount of supervisory need.
Why aren't seat belts for passengers required to be used on school buses?
The United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is responsible for establishing motor vehicle safety manufacturing standards and requirements for vehicles, including school buses. The standards developed for the manufacture of school buses incorporate an occupant protection design referred to as “compartmentalization" which is unique to the school bus. This standard provides a protective envelope consisting of strong, closely spaced seats that have energy-absorbing seat backs. The effectiveness of compartmentalization has been confirmed and consistently reconfirmed in National Transportation Safety Board and National Academy of Sciences studies. School safety standards have been adopted into the Michigan Vehicle Code which exempts large buses, over 10,000 pounds, from seat belt requirements for passengers. Drivers of all sizes of buses are required to wear seat belts because the driver is located in the front of the bus with no energy-absorbing seat back in front of them, and as such, are not protected within a compartmentalized space like the passengers on the school bus.
What is the mission of the Grand Haven Area Public Schools Transportation Department?
The GHAPS Transportation Department is committed to safely transporting students to and from school and on school sponsored events. We are dedicated to providing a positive, caring environment. We accept responsibility for exercising fair discipline to help ensure a safe ride for all.
What should I teach my child in order to be a safe bus rider?
The school bus is an extension of the classroom. The behavior expectations on the school bus are similar to the behavior expectations in the school classroom: Be Safe; Be Responsible; Be Respectful.
In general, students need to observe the following three primary Bus Rules:
- Stay in your seat, facing forward.
- Keep all hands, body parts and personal belongings to yourself.
- Obey the bus driver at all times.
What is the maximum “walk distance” to a school building?
State law defines that if a school district chooses to provide transportation, the district should be ready to provide transportation if that child lives greater than 1.5 miles from the school building.
If I think the weather is too questionable, I may not want my child attending school. Do I have the right to not send my child on the bus?
Absolutely. School administrators take considerable effort to assess weather conditions very early in the morning (before 5:30 a.m.) and throughout the school day. As a parent/guardian, you can make the choice to keep your child home if you feel weather conditions warrant it.
Across the nation, school buses are respected as the safest form of transportation, year-after-year. School buses are uniquely designed to offer unparalleled protection to your child while inside the school bus. Bus drivers are professional in transporting students to and from school and school-related events. Great effort is taken to provide a safe environment for your child while in the custodial care of the school bus driver.
Should I call if my student will not be riding the bus?
Generally this is not necessary. To maintain a regular and consistent schedule, it is best if the bus stops at each assigned bus stop, regardless of whether your child is riding or not. If the bus has to go significantly out of its way to reach your assigned buys stop, a call to the Transportation office well in advance of the bus stop time may be helpful.
Why can’t my child receive a bus pass to ride a bus to a friend’s house?
GHAPS school buses transport approximately 4,000 students daily. Many buses are filled to capacity and extra seats may not be available. A bus pass may be issued/allowed only in emergency situations by the school building office or bus driver.
I pay taxes. Isn’t the school district “required” to transport my child?
School districts are NOT required by law to transport regular education students. For most students, riding a school bus is a privilege provided by your local school board, and is not a service that is mandated or paid for by the state. Schools receive no added funding from state tax dollars for choosing to provide – or not provide – pupil transportation. By law, it is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to see that your child is in school.
Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) 380.1321 outlines the obligations of the school district IF its board of education elects to provide transportation. Under Article 3 of the Revised School Code, the school district is obligated to provide for the transportation of a special education student if the Individualized Educational Planning Committee (IEPC) has determined that the transportation is a specialized service which is included within and necessary to carry out the student's IEP.
I would like to talk to the bus driver. Where and when is the best time to visit?
Generally speaking, the bus stop is not the best time to visit with the bus driver. Buses run a tight schedule. At the bus stop, bus drivers need to remain focused on the safety of all students on and off the bus. If you must visit with the bus driver at the bus stop, approach the driver from the bus driver’s window (left side of the bus). NEVER BOARD A SCHOOL BUS to visit with the bus driver – it can be very frightening to bus riders and can startle the bus driver. The best time to visit with the bus driver is after the driver has finished the bus run and has parked and secured the bus. You can request to speak with the bus driver’s supervisor or can request a meeting with your bus driver and the Director of Transportation, by contacting the Transportation office at 616.850.5150.
What are the Transportation Department's office hours?
The transportation office is open from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday (except holidays).
How can I contact the Transportation Department?
The Grand Haven Area Public Schools Transportation Department is located at 1415 Beechtree Street, Grand Haven, MI 49417. You can contact the Transportation office:
- By telephone: 616.850.5150
- By fax: 616.850.5131