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Transportation

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At HWDSB, the consortium Hamilton-Wentworth Student Transportation Services (HWSTS) provides safe, effective and efficient transportation services to eligible students. This may occur using traditional yellow-and-black school buses, school purpose vans, taxi or Hamilton Street Railway transit.

Eligibility for transportation is determined by HWDSB policy.

Visit the HWSTS website’s Bus Stop Finder to find your child’s bus stop and more information. HWSTS contacts families each August with instructions on how to find bus times and locations. Parents with children starting kindergarten receive their bus stop information by mail.

COVID-19 and School Transportation

  • We strive to keep all information current, but please also watch our Family Updates and Board Reports for updates.
  • All students will use a seating plan, grouping students by grade and classroom, to cohort students while riding the bus. All students must wear masks while riding the bus.
  • Drivers must wear masks at all times and other PPE as needed. Buses will be thoroughly cleaned twice per day. Also, high touch surfaces will be cleaned between runs.
  • HWSTS plans routes based on school bell times and the guiding principles of safety, minimizing disruption, ease of transition between delivery scenarios, and fiscal/human resource responsibility. We also want to ensure that providers have enough time to clean buses.
  • Please be understanding with our drivers. Driver shortages have been a reality in Hamilton for years, and we know COVID-19 may impact the personal health of drivers.
  • We must record the attendance and seating location of bused students for contact tracing.

Declining transportation

To ease transportation demand, we encourage active forms of travel (e.g., walking and cycling) and family transportation where possible. We also ask families each school year if they wish to decline transportation, using a form on the HWSTS website.

Your child’s Ontario Education Number (OEN) will be required to complete the form. This number is available to all parents and guardians on your child’s report card. Junior Kindergarten families do not need to respond, as we will be asking you specifically in October, once you have access to your child’s OEN number.

Families are eligible to opt back into transportation. We will announce when this opportunity opens, and any transition dates involved.

Eligibility

Students residing within all urban and rural areas as defined by the “Official Plans” and prepared by the local municipality, will be eligible for transportation services to their in-catchment school when the walking distance exceeds the following:

  • Elementary School, Kindergarten students: 1.2 km
  • Elementary School, grades 1 to 8 students, 1.6 km
  • Secondary School, grades 9 to 12 students, 3.2 km

Learn more in the HWDSB Transportation Policy.

Delays

HWSTS maintains a Parent Portal. By registering with this tool, families can receive email updates when a morning or afternoon bus delay occurs. Delays are also found on the HWSTS website.

In addition, bus delays are posted to the website of the affected HWDSB schools. To avoid duplication with the HWSTS portal, HWDSB does not send its website subscribers a second email about a bus delay.

Severe weather

The decision to remain open or to close is always made with the safety and security of our students and staff in mind. When a decision to close is made, it is does so in conjunction with our colleagues at the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board based on relevant information at that time.

School Boards across Ontario have varying policies about the cancellation of schools. At HWDSB, the cancellation of transportation due to inclement weather immediately triggers the closure of our schools.

Please remember, as a parent/guardian you always have the choice on whether or not to send your child to school. HWDSB will NOT post a weather alert on its website to signal that schools are open.

Learn more about severe weather cancellations.

Contact transportation staff

Families are encouraged to visit the HWSTS website to learn more, and to feel free to contact the HWSTS offices at (905) 523-2318 or 1-800-691-6402 with any questions.

Please also visit the HWSTS FAQ web page.

Updated on Wednesday, September 15, 2021.
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