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Home - Harford County Public Schools

Office of Transportation

About Us

  • Transportation Services

    An essential component of the education process is the safe and efficient transportation of students to and from school. The successful completion of this task relies on the shared responsibility of drivers, students, parents, schools, and Transportation.

    Harford County Public School buses transport approximately 35,000 children on over 500 buses every day to and from school, travelling nearly 42,000 miles daily. To ensure safe and reliable service, Harford County Public Schools Transportation takes great pride in our driver training program and fleet maintenance.

  • HCPS Transportation Facts & Figures
    • Over 500 general education and special needs buses service Harford County Public School students.
      • 383 contractor owned and operated general education buses.
      • 112 county owned and operated special needs buses.

    • Over 32,000 students transported daily.
    • Miles traveled: approximately 42,000 daily, 7.6 million annually.
    • 54 Public Schools serviced; 23 out of county/Non-Public Schools serviced
    • Over 6,500 field trips, sport events and extracurricular activities transported annually.
  • Policies & Procedures

    The pupil transportation system in Harford County is operated under State and Local policies and guidelines established by the Maryland State Department of Education and the Harford County Board of Education. The Transportation Services Department emphasizes the following policies for parental information:

    • School bus transportation is provided for Harford County public elementary school students who live more than one mile from their school and for public secondary school students who live more than one and one half miles from their school.

    • Pupils may not ride buses other than those to which they are regularly assigned, without approval by the Principal, following a written request by the parent. These requests shall be approved for emergency situations only.

    • All pupils who are eligible shall be provided transportation to attend the school within their appropriate attendance area.

    • Bus stops should not be less than 1/4 of a mile apart.

    • One stop location shall be allowed for each transported student. Exceptions will be made only in case of an emergency or when an extenuating circumstance exists and shall be approved by the Principal.

    • Pupils should be at the bus stop five (5) minutes before pick up time.

    • Parents are responsible for the supervision of students while walking to or from school or while walking to, from, or waiting at the bus stop.

    • A pupil who damages the school bus in any manner shall be denied the privilege of riding a bus. Suspension of riding privileges shall be authorized by the Principal. Riding privileges may be restored to the pupil after restitution has been made.

    • Pupils shall not bring the following items on board the bus without prior approval by the bus driver: large musical instruments or bulky items. Live insects or animals shall not be permitted on the school bus.
  • Transportation Rules for Students

    The following transportation rules apply to all students riding school buses to and from Harford County Public Schools. In addition, all other policies adopted by the Board of Education regarding student behavior on school property will be enforced on Harford County Public Schools buses.

    1. Follow directions given by the bus driver. Insubordination or disrespectful behavior will not be tolerated.

    2. Sit in assigned seat as directed by the driver.

    3. Be respectful to other students.

    4. Keep the aisleway clear.

    5. Remain seated and face forward at all times when the bus is in motion.

    6. Refrain from any loud, profane, obscene language or gestures.

    7. Refrain from throwing any object inside, outside or in front of the school bus.

    8. Keep all bookbags, books, school equipment, musical instruments, or other personal belongings contained to his/her assigned seat. If the instrument is too large it may not be able to be transported. This will be made at the discretion of the bus driver.

    9. Keep all parts of the body inside the bus and in his/her assigned seat.

    10. Keep all objects inside the bus and be respectful of motorists.

    11. Cooperate in keeping the bus clean from debris and damage.

    12. Never bring glass on the bus.

    13. Never eat, drink or chew gum on the bus.

    14. Use designated bus stop assigned by the Transportation Department.

    15. Arrive to the bus stop five at least (5) minutes prior to the scheduled arrival.

    16. Be prepared to present any required pass or boarding card.
    17. When/if using any personal electronic device, students are required to use earbuds/headphones and must refrain from making calls, taking video or photographs while on the school bus.
    18. Appropriately utilize any additional safety equipment such as seat belts or safety vests.
  • Discipline Procedures

    Students who are assigned to ride Harford County Public School buses must assume certain responsibilities. Misconduct, carelessness, and thoughtlessness are hazardous to the safe operation of the school bus. The bus is an integral part of the total school program; and the driver, who is an adult in a position of authority, must insist on appropriate behavior.

    Each student will receive a copy of the "Transportation Rules for Students" which is located in the Parent-Student Handbook & Calendar. These rules will be reviewed and interpreted for the students on an annual basis by school personnel. Violation of these rules must be reported to the school principal. When a principal is advised of a violation of the "Transportation Rules for Students" and where the principal determines, as a result of their investigation, that a violation of the "Transportation Rules for Students" has occurred, the student may face consequences.

    Withdrawal of transportation services for a day shall be defined as a day that school is in session. Students and their parents should be aware that misbehavior on school buses may also have other serious consequences. Specifically, violation of the "Transportation Rules for Students" may result in a suspension from school. Furthermore, any act by a student which contributes to a school bus accident will be reported to the police officer investigating the incident.

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Transportation Office
    • Route, schedule and tier school buses in adherence with Federal, State and local guidelines so that all students eligible for transportation are given access to safe, adequate and economical bus transportation.

    • Establish bus stop locations in adherence with State and local policies.

    • Address concerns from parents, school administrators, bus drivers, contractors and the motoring public regarding the operation of Harford County Public Schools buses.

    • Provide screening and training to ensure Harford County Public school bus drivers and assistants are highly qualified.

    • Establish and enforce transportation procedures, regulations and rules.

    • Inspect all buses in accordance with Federal, State and Local statutes and regulations.

    • Provide data regarding school bus number and general route information to parents through schools and local newspapers. This data is provided in mid August every year. Pick up and drop off times are estimates only and are subject to change.
  • Drivers
    • Follow the designated route time and schedule.

    • Pick up and discharge students at approved stops only.

    • Ensure the bus is in safe operating condition.

    • Maintain a safe and orderly environment on the school bus.

    • Inform students of behavioral expectations.

    • Report unacceptable school bus behavioral violations to the school administrator as necessary.

    • Drive the bus in a safe, professional manner.
  • Students
    • Arrive at the bus stop five minutes before pick-up time.

    • Walk safely to the bus stop and wait in a safe manner away from traffic

    • Respect the right of property owners while walking to or waiting at the bus stop.

    • Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop prior to approaching the bus.

    • Watch your step and use the handrail when getting on and off the bus.

    • Board in an orderly manner, without pushing or shoving, at your stop or at school.

    • Take your assigned seat promptly and remain seated for your ride to and from school.

    • Sit in the seat facing front; keep your feet, books and other articles out of the aisle.

    • Keep your hands and head inside the bus.

    • Speak quiet and respectfully to your bus driver and other students.

    • Do not damage any part of the bus and report any damage that you see to the driver.

    • Do not eat, drink, smoke or use vulgar language.

    • Do not tamper with any of the bus' equipment or controls.

    • Remain quiet and orderly so the driver is not distracted from the important job of driving.

    • Do not throw any object on the bus or outside the bus.

    • Listen to the bus driver's instructions.

    • Wait until the bus has come to a complete stop before leaving your seat.

    • Cross ten feet in front of the bus with the warning lights when crossing in front of the bus.

    • Always look left, right, left to check for traffic before crossing any street, even when crossing in front of the bus with its red warning lights on.
  • Parents

    Parent/Guardian Transportation — Parents/Guardians who choose to drop their child off at the school are responsible for the safety of their child until the school is open for students. Parents/Guardians who are not aware of the time that students are allowed to enter the school must contact their respective school directly for the information.

    Parent/Guardian Responsibility — Each parent/guardian has a role in the safe and efficient operation of the HCPS student transportation system. Parents/Guardians shall assume their responsibilities with the transportation system and extend cooperation and support to the people charged with its operation. Any interference with the official duties of the school bus driver may result in suspension of service and/or criminal charges.

    Parents/Guardians should be aware that the privilege to ride a school bus may be temporarily or permanently revoked if the “Transportation Rules for Students” are violated.

    1. Parents/Guardians are responsible for the safety of their children from the time they leave home in the morning until the time they board the school bus and, at the end of the school day, from the time the school bus drops the student off at their bus stop. For those students in a non-service area, getting to and from the school safely is a parental responsibility.
    2. Parents/Guardians should check the bus routes prior to the start of the school year to review the accurate bus information. Bus stop information can be found on the HCPS website. Bus routes and stops are subject to change.
    3. Parents/Guardians are never to board the school bus unless authorized by the bus driver to do so and are never to create any disruption to the transportation system. Parents/Guardians who interfere with the official duties of the bus driver may be subject to suspension of bus service and/or criminal charges.
    4. Parents/Guardians should be aware that students are required to arrive to the bus stop at least five (5) minutes prior to the scheduled arrival time.
    5. Parents/Guardians should be aware that students are required to utilize the designated bus stop assigned by the Transportation Department. Requests may be made for the use of another bus stop to the principal for emergency situations and approval must be provided to the bus driver in writing.
    6. Parents/Guardians should be aware that large items or personal belongings that interfere with other students’ seating are not permitted on the school bus.
    7. Parents/Guardians shall be responsible for any damage or destruction of the school bus. Any destruction to the school bus may result in withdrawal of transportation services until the cost of the damage is settled.
    8. Only during a mid-day bus run is adult supervision is required for PreK students at the bus stop until the child is picked up, and at the time a child is dropped off.
    9. Adult supervision may also be required for before and after school programs.
    10. Parent/Guardians of students who are found to have damaged the bus or equipment beyond normal wear and tear will be held financially responsible. Transportation service may be suspended until the invoice for any damage is received. Invoices that remain unpaid may be subject to debt collection service.

    Parents/Guardians should not attempt to communicate concerns with the driver at the bus stop. This delays the bus and can create safety concerns. Parents/Guardians should contact the Transportation Office with any concerns 410-638-4092.

Routing & Stops

Bus routes are set up to fully utilize all buses, provide safe and efficient service, and maintain a reasonable ride time for students. Per The Annotated Code of Maryland, the following criteria are used in establishing bus routes and stops.

  • When creating and maintaining our bus routes, the prime consideration is the safety of the riders.

  • Stops should be approximately 1/4 mile apart for general education buses and located, if possible, to maximize the visibility of the stopped school vehicle for approaching traffic.

  • School vehicles shall be routed so that all students are seated and loads do not exceed the manufacturer's rated capacity. If an emergency situation creates and overload, this condition shall be corrected within a reasonable time.

Harford County Public Schools have implemented additional rules to enhance the safety of our pupil transportation program. For example, students are only permitted to cross in front of the school bus, and door-side service is provided on high speed, high volume state roads that have been identified as such by Transportation.

First Time Bus Rider

School Bus Safety

Parents/Guardians are responsible for the safety of their children from the time they leave home in the morning until the time they board the school bus and, at the end of the school day, from the time the school bus departs the bus stop and the children reach home. For those students in a non-service area, getting to and from the school safely is a parental responsibility. During the mid-day bus run, adult supervision is required for PreK students at the bus stop until the child is picked up, and at the time a child is dropped off. Once the student boards the school bus, the responsibility lies with the bus driver and the school administration. In order to ensure safe and efficient student transportation, parents/guardians must also accept the following responsibilities:

  • Cooperate with the school authorities and the school bus driver to promote safe and efficient services for all passengers by:

    • Insisting upon good behavior on the part of their children while riding the school bus;

    • Insisting that their children occupy the seats that have been assigned to them;

    • Instructing their children as to their responsibility for damages caused to the property of others, including the school bus;

    • Informing/Ensuring their children arrive at the designated school bus stop five minutes before the scheduled arrival time of the school bus;

    • Setting an example for their children by obeying all traffic rules, signs, and signals in order to make their child(ren) aware of best safety practices.

  • Make suggestions to school administration or to the director of transportation for improvements in the transportation program.

  • Walk with younger children to and from the school bus stop, using this opportunity to teach the children proper pedestrian practices. If the parents/guardians cannot accompany their children, arrangements should be made, if possible, for older children (brothers, sisters or neighbors) to escort the younger children to and from the school bus stop or school.

  • Understand that unauthorized persons, including parents/guardians, are not allowed to board the school bus under any circumstances.

Safety Videos

Contact Us

Office Number: 410-638-4092