Student Transportation

Student Transportation

*Information about student transportation for the 2024-25 school year will be available to view online through the BusPlanner Parent Portal in July. 

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Young child with pigtails wearing a pink sweater, purple dress and backpack steps onto the school bus

As of July 24, 2023, student transportation information for the 2023-24 school year will be available to view online through the BusPlanner Parent Portal!

Families eligible for transportation will receive an email to access the Parent Portal to view their child’s bus information once it is available.  

Once you receive the email, you must follow the instructions to activate your Parent Portal account and create a password (previous BusPlanner Parent Portal login information will not work).

If you can't find the email, please contact 902-431-4723 or transportation@hrce.ca for assistance.

Students must reside within their designated catchment of the school they are attending and meet the minimum distance criteria to be eligible for transportation.  

Click School Catchment to determine what school your child(ren) would attend based on your primary residence.  

Visit hrcetransportation.mybusplanner.ca to check transportation eligibility for the 2023-24 school year.  

Busing is provided to:  

  • Pre-Primary children and students in elementary (PP to Grade 6) who live more than 1.6 km from their school.  

  • Students in junior high and secondary (Grades 7 to 12) who live more than 2.4 km from their school.

Bus eligibility and routing are based on a student’s transportation address information in PowerSchool.  

Once your child is registered in PowerSchool, your child will be automatically assigned to routes by HRCE, if bus eligible. There is no need to register for busing. Students are assigned to routes based on their residence or alternate address information in PowerSchool, if eligible. All transportation addresses must be in catchment of the student’s assigned school. 

BusPlanner Parent Portal is the best way to access and review transportation information at hrcetransportation.mybusplanner.ca when routing is finalized. If your child is eligible for transportation, we will send you an email access the Parent Portal to review your child’s bus information for the 2023-24 school year. 

Accessible Busing

If you are looking to register for accessible busing, please contact your child’s school. The principal will work with HRCE’s Student Services team to assess the student’s need and requirements for transportation.

If approved, busing will be provided to your child, regardless of the distance you live from the school in your catchment. A member of our Student Transportation Team will reach out with busing details for your child, once routing is finalized.

Families eligible for busing will receive an email to access their BusPlanner Parent Portal account to review busing information. Typically, busing information is available by the end of July. If you haven't received your email by the end of July, please contact us for assistance. Please Note: You will need to click the dropdown box by Name on the top of the My Students section in your Parent Portal account to view each of your children's transportation information.

Every summer, our Student Transportation Team reaches out to new-to-HRCE families and those families who may require special needs transportation for their children. We recommend reviewing your child’s route information in late August before school starts. Even if you have reviewed the information earlier in the summer, route adjustments could have been made.

During the school year, families can change their primary/residential address information online by filling out the HRCE Active Student Change of Address Form found on our Student Registration page or contacting their child’s school. 

If you have an update to your alternate address (e.g., daycare or after-school program), you may contact the Student Transportation Team directly year-round at 902-431-4723 or transportation@hrce.ca.  

Parents/guardians can identify an alternate residence address for either AM pick-up, PM drop-off, or both, provided:

  • the change is consistent 5 days a week,
  • the requested stop is already established on an existing route serviced by that school,
  • the alternate residence address is within the school catchment (not out-of-catchment area), and
  • there is sufficient space on the bus.

Please note that changes to address information on file may affect bus routing and eligibility.  

Email

Once their BusPlanner Parent Portal account has been activated, all bus eligible families will be automatically signed up to receive email notifications about their child's busing information (including bus routing changes, bus delays or cancellations).

Text Message

To ensure compliance with Canadian Anti-Spam laws, you must opt-in to receive information by text message. You can opt-in by logging into BusPlanner Parent Portal.

By opting in, you will receive texts from BusPlanner, including late notifications, general notices, and bus cancellations due to inclement weather.

To opt-in to text messages on BusPlanner Parent Portal, please follow these steps:

  1. Log in to BusPlanner Parent Portal
  2. Click Parent
  3. Select My Account
  4. Click Mobile Numbers
  5. Check box to confirm you want to receive text alerts
  6. Enter up to five phone numbers
  7. Select Update

Don’t have a BusPlanner Parent Portal account? Need help logging in? Please contact the HRCE Student Transportation Team at transportation@hrce.ca or call 902-431-4723.

Families not eligible for transportation can apply for an unassigned seat. Click here for more information.

You can also contact us at 902-431-4723 or transportation@hrce.ca if you have any questions.

 

As part of the provincial School Transportation Policy, families can request a review of any non-behaviour related transportation decision. Click here to learn more.  

To help our youngest riders arrive to/from school safely, the HRCE implements the Purple Tag Program in September. 

What is the Purple Tag Program?
Parents/guardians (or a designate) are responsible for accompanying Pre-Primary to Grade 2 children to their designated bus stop, waiting with them until safely boarded, and greeting them at the stop at the end of the day.

If a seatbelt is available and a child is less than 40 pounds and 57 inches in height, parents/guardians (or a designate) are also responsible for buckling/unbuckling them from their seat. School staff will do this when the child is at school.

The Purple Tag Program will help school staff and bus drivers identify these children to ensure they are not left alone at a stop and receive the assistance they may need.

Click here for a short introductory video.

How does it work?
Families will receive a purple tag from their child’s school. This tag should be attached to the left-hand side of the child’s backpack or school bag, or another area that can easily be seen by school staff and the bus driver.

What is my role?
Parents/guardians should write the name of their child’s school and their morning/afternoon route number(s) on the tag before fastening it to their backpack. Tags should stay on their backpack for the remainder of the school year. Schools will be given extra tags for those that are lost or damaged.

Please note that personal information such as the child’s name, home address and/or personal phone number should not be written on the tag for privacy and safety reasons.

If you have questions about the Purple Tag Program or busing, please contact the Student Transportation Team at 902-431-4723 or transportation@hrce.ca.

In September 2021, the Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) entered into a partnership with Halifax Transit to provide free bus passes to all students at two HRCE high schools. This program was first extended until December 31, 2022. Then, the program was expanded to include six junior high schools, and was extended until December 31, 2023.

The program has been extended again until June 30, 2024!

Halifax Transit and HRCE are inviting students at six junior highs to learn more about the benefits and conveniences of public transitThe pass will give students access to all conventional buses, Access-A-Bus and ferries. It will be valid for 12 months, including nights, weekends and holidays. Passes will be given to students at the following schools:

  • Bicentennial School - Grades 7-9
  • Caledonia Junior High - Grades 7-9
  • Dartmouth High - Grades 9-12
  • Dartmouth South Academy - Grades 7-8
  • Ellenvale Junior High - Grades 7-9
  • Eric Graves Memorial Junior High - Grades 7-9
  • John Martin Junior High - Grades 7-9
  • Woodlawn High - Grades 10-12

Participation in this program is optional. If your child is eligible for student transportation, the option to ride the school bus remains available.

Questions?

If you have any questions about the Student Transit Pass Pilot Program, you can find more information from Halifax Transit here. You can also call 311 or email contactus@311.halifax.ca.

If you have questions specific to riding the school bus, please call HRCE’s Student Transportation Team at 902-431-4723 or email transportation@hrce.ca.

Other References

Student Transit Pass Pilot Program FAQ

Q. How do I arrange transportation for my child if we are a family with custodial arrangements?
A. For families with custodial arrangements, please contact us to ensure your residence or alternate addresses are entered in PowerSchool under transportation information.

Routes are assigned based on student’s transportation address information in PowerSchool. All addresses must be bus eligible. Check your transportation eligibility by clicking here.

Q. My child wants to go to a friend’s house or after-school program. Can they take a bus that is not their assigned bus?
A. No. This is a safety issue. We are responsible for your child(ren) during the school day, and we take that responsibility seriously. We need to know where all students are at all times and students should only be riding the bus routes that they are assigned to in BusPlanner Parent Portal.

Q. How far will my child have to walk to get the bus?
A. In general, HRCE plans bus stops to ensure students have to walk no more than 800 metres to their nearest bus stop. However, in some areas, this distance may be longer if the bus is unable to safely access a closer stop.

Q. I have other children at home and cannot accompany my child to the bus. Can the bus make an extra stop at my house? 
A. It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to get students safely to designated stops. These stops are chosen for a variety of safety and efficiency reasons. Extra stops cannot be added to accommodate individual families.

Q. Who will greet my child at the school? Who will put them on the bus to come home?
A. Early Childhood Educators will greet Pre-Primary children as they arrive at school and assist them with boarding the bus at the end of the day.

Q. Will there be monitors on the buses for Pre-Primary children?
A. Four-year-olds in Nova Scotia have been bused regularly and safely for more than a decade without additional supervision. There is no additional supervision on HRCE buses.

Q. Will my child be riding the bus with older kids? Even grade 12s?
A. Your child will be on the same bus as your family, friends and neighbours from your community. This means your child will ride the bus with students that attend the same school as your child.

Contact Us

Year-round (even in the summer), the HRCE Student Transportation Team can answer your questions about school bus routes, stops and schedules. We are also available to discuss any concerns you may have about your child’s student transportation. 

Please get in touch with us at 902-431-4723 or transportation@hrce.ca.

More than 30,000 HRCE students are transported by bus each school day and we all have a role to play in ensuring students are getting to and from school safely.

Please note a parent/guardian or designate must accompany Pre-Primary to Grade 2 students to the stop and remain with the child until they are safely boarded, and they must also be at the stop at the end of the day. 

Please ensure your child arrives at the stop a minimum of five (5) minutes before their pick-up time. You can always review BusPlanner Parent Portal for your child's transportation information including stop times and locations. We encourage all families to review these important reminders below throughout the school year.

Bus Stop Safety

  • Be on time for the bus, and please don’t run to/from the bus.
  • Stand back off the road and don't push or shove when waiting at a stop.
  • Always cross in front of the bus, walk 3 meters (10 ft) in front of the bus to a point where you can see the driver; wait for the driver's signal to cross. Proceed to the centre of the road, STOP, LOOK & LISTEN and cross the road when it is safe.
  • Never crawl under a school bus or cross the road behind the bus.
  • Know the danger zones around the bus.

School Bus Safety

  • Please respect and listen to the driver and avoid distracting them.
  • Please keep noise levels to a minimum.
  • Do not stand or move seats while the bus is in motion.
  • Never put your hands, arms, feet or head out of the bus window.
  • Ask the driver for permission before you open the bus windows.
  • Do not throw anything inside the bus or out of the windows.
  • Keep the aisle clear at all times when the bus is in motion.
  • The driver will report misconduct and vandalism to the school.

For additional school bus safety tips in Nova Scotia, please visit https://www.schoolbussafety.ca/kids.

School bus

Contact Us  

If you have questions about student transportation, contact 902-431-4723 or transportation@hrce.ca. 

You can also submit a question or concern using our convenient online inquiry form. Click here to get started.