Marin Transit's Yellow School Bus program, in partnership with the Town of San Anselmo, the Town of Fairfax, and the County of Marin, provides students at White Hill Middle School and Hidden Valley Elementary School the opportunity to ride to and from school on a bus that’s been specifically designed for student transportation operated by drivers trained to service this population.
- What service does the program provide?
- How is the program funded?
- What is the JEPA?
- Is the school district operating the busses?
- My child splits their time between two households. Can they ride different routes on different days?
- How safe are the busses?
- What are the qualifications fo the drivers?
- Why can't you add another bus?
- Why do routes depart WHMS at 3:45 PM?
- How do I buy a pass?
- How much does it cost?
- Are there discounts for multi-child families?
- Are there limited seats available?
- Do you pro-rate the price of the pass during the year?
- When will I receive my student's pass?
- Do kids need to show a pass to board the bus?
- What if my child loses the bus pass?
- Do you sell single use or weekly passes?
- Can I get a refund?
- Does a pass entitle my student to ride any yellow bus he/she chooses?
- Where and when does the bus stop in my neighborhood?
- Does the bus schedule adjust for Early Release and Minimum Days?
- What if my child misses the bus?
- What if the bus is late?
- What happens if my child leaves an item on the bus?
- Who do I call if there is a problem?
- Can my child be assigned to more than one route?
- Can my child get off at a different stop?
- Can my child bring a friend home on the bus?
- What if my child has to cross the street?
- Can riders open the windows?
- Can riders stick anyting out the windows?
- How is dicipline carried out onboard the bus?
- What happens if a child doesn't follow the rules?
- Can my bus pass be taken away?
- Are parents financially responsible for vandalism?
- What if my child is being bullied?
- What if my child is accused of bullying?
Q: What service does the program provide?
Q: How is the program funded?
Marin Transit's Yellow School Bus program that serves schools in the Ross Valley receives funding from several key stakeholders including the County of Marin, Town of San Anselmo, and Town of Fairfax. Marin Transit distributes Measure AA funds to the Ross Valley program. Without these contributions, bus pass prices would nearly double. In addition to the funding partners listed above, the remaining costs of the program are funded through pass sales and other fees.
Q: What is the JEPA?
On January 1, 2019, the Ross Valley Yellow Bus Transportation Services Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement (JEPA) went into effect. The members of the JEPA form a joint committee including the Town of San Anselmo, Town of Fairfax, County of Marin, and Ross Valley School District.
The purpose of the joint committee is to provide enhanced public oversight and transparency for the yellow bus program operated by Marin Transit and serving public schools in the Ross Valley. The joint committee will provide policy guidance and advice to Marin Transit.
You can learn more about the joint committee and view presentations and meeting materials here. Parents are encouraged to attend the meetings and provide input!
Q: Is the school district operating the buses?
No. RVSD is not funded, equipped, or staffed to operate transportation services. Marin Transit is contracting for the operations of the buses with a local school bus provider, Michael’s Transportation.
Q: My child splits their time between two households. Can they ride different routes on different days?
We understand that some students split their time between different households and given the geography in the Ross Valley this may mean that not all bus routes serve both stops where the student resides. Marin Transit makes every effort to accommodate families with split households. For more information and to request access to a secondary bus, see the Secondary Bus Route Request page.
Q: How safe are the buses?
School buses are some of the safest vehicles on the road today. According the National Safety Council Statistics, school buses are 172 times safer than passenger cars in terms of occupant deaths per 100 million passenger miles traveled.
Q: What are the qualifications of the drivers?
Michael’s drivers are fully certified, courteous, professional, and trained at their own MTS Training Academy. This Academy is one of the only independent, state-certified driver training programs in California.
In addition to the commercial vehicle and passenger endorsements needed to drive a transit bus, yellow bus drivers transporting students must also obtain a School Pupil Activity Bus (SPAB) certification. This certification process trains drivers on issues specific to student transportation and also includes fingerprinting and a background check.
Q: Why can't you add another bus?
The program is funded through a combination of pass sales revenue and contributions from Measure AA (via Marin Transit), County of Marin, Town of San Anselmo, and Town of Fairfax. In order for a bus to be added to the contract an additional $50,000 in subsidy would need to be raised in addition to the revenue contributed through pass sales. Additional funding from the local partners is not available and we will not be able to add a seventh bus to the contract for the 2020/21 academic year. Click here to learn more about program funding.
Q: Why do routes depart WHMS at 3:45 PM?
Marin Transit contracts with Michael’s Transportation for six buses to provide 19 routes to White Hill Middle School, Hidden Valley and Ross Valley Charter. 16 of these routes serve WHMS. In the morning, demand is spread between the 0 and 1st periods which allows for the re-use of the buses for multiple routes. In the afternoon, however, all of the WHMS students are released at the same time. In order to serve the same number of students in the afternoon as the morning, two of the buses return to campus after completing a first route. We understand that these routes after the buses return to campus are the least desirable routes due to their late departure from school. Unfortunately, it is the only way that we can increase the supply of seats available with the six buses under contract. Click here for more information about the bus/route configurations.
Q: How do I buy a pass?
Marin Transit recognizes the uncertainty surrounding the academic year for 2020/21. This, coupled with past technology issues related to high demand at the time when bus passes go on sale, has led us to develop a new system for the yellow bus pass purchases for 2020/21. This new plan is comprised of a lottery sign up for bus passes now, but the lottery award and sale of bus passes will happen much closer to the beginning of the school year. For more information on the lottery and its terms and conditions, please visit the lottery page here.
Once available, passes can be purchased online using a Visa, Master Card, American Express, or Discover credit card. AM and PM passes are sold separately. For a round trip, you will need to choose an AM product plus a PM product and add them both to your cart before completing the check-out procedure.
If you have an outstanding balance from the prior year's purchase, then you are not allowed to purchase a pass for the new school year until the outstanding balance has been paid.
Q: How much does it cost?
Annual passes are $490.00 each way, which breaks down to about $2.72 per trip. All passes can be purchased online using a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover credit card.
Pay in Full
Pay in 10 Monthly Payments (includes $4/month/pass processing fee)
Parents will have the option to pay the full amount at once or pay over 10 months. If selecting a monthly payment option, the first monthly payment will be processed to your card upon placing your order. A $4 per month per pass processing fee is included in the monthly price. The remaining payments will be charged as follows on the first of the month starting on September 1, 2020. The last payment will be due on May 1, 2021.
Any passes purchased after September 1, will have a double charge on May 1 & 2 in lieu of a June 1 charge. This is necessary to be able to update the website for bus pass sales for the next academic year.
Families that qualify for the free or reduced lunch program and are in need of a bus pass can fill out an application form for a reduced price coupon code here. For questions about eligibility, please contact Teri Louer (415-451-4066) at the Ross Valley School District office.
Q: Are there discounts for multi-child families?
No, there are no discounts for multi-child families.
Q: Are there limited seats available?
Yes. Each each route has a limited number of seats available for sale and routes will close once all seats are purchased. You will have the option to join a waitlist for available seats if buses sell out.
Q: Do you pro-rate the price of the pass during the year?
Yes. If you move to the area or decide to use the bus after the year begins, passes will be pro-rated based on the number of months left in the school year. However, availability of these passes is based on unsold seats and are not guaranteed.
Q: When will I receive my student’s pass?
White Hill: Your student’s pass can be picked up prior to the start of school in August. Parents will receive an email notifying them when the passes are ready for pick up. Passes not picked up during registration will be available through the school’s administration office. For purchases made after the first week of school is in session, your pass will be mailed to the shipping address that you provide at check out. You may use your printed purchase confirmation as a temporary pass in the meantime while you wait for the permanent bus pass to arrive.
Hidden Valley: Your student's pass will be mailed to the shipping address that you provide at check out. For an annual pass, you may use your printed purchase confirmation as a temporary pass in the meantime while you wait for the permanent bus pass to arrive. For single ride tickets/booklets, please see Teresa at Hidden Valley to pick them up.
Ross Valley Charter: Your student's pass will be mailed to the shipping address that you provide at check out. You may use your printed purchase confirmation as a temporary pass in the meantime while you wait for the permanent bus pass to arrive.
Q: Do kids need to show a pass to board the bus?
Yes. Students will receive a specific pass based on the bus stop and route selected at the time of purchase. Students must carry this pass whenever they ride the bus, even if the driver already knows them.
Q: What if my child loses the bus pass?
If your child has lost his/her pass, you can purchase a replacement pass for $10. Once purchased, the school coordinator will provide your child with a temporary pass, which can be used until a new pass is mailed out. Replacement passes are available for purchase online.
Q: Do you sell single use or weekly passes?
Single day passes will be offered to/from Hidden Valley for $4.00 per trip and available only if seats are available. However, these quantities will be limited and only available on a first come, first served basis. These passes can be purchased online 24 hours in advance of the ride. Tickets are linked to the receipt and must be printed and shown to the driver.
This product is not available for White Hill service as there is no capacity.
Q: Can I get a refund?
There are no refunds, including a situation where the student’s bus pass has been revoked due to not following the rules. The only exception is if your child moves away from the District. Your refund will be pro-rated based on the number of months left in the school year.No refunds will be allowed for any circumstances after April 1 of each academic year.
Q: Does a pass entitle my student to ride any yellow bus he/she chooses?
No, all passes are specific to a bus and route. In the AM, the driver expects your student to board at your selected stop. In the PM, students may get off at any stop along their designated route.
Q: Where and when does the bus stop in my neighborhood?
Routes generally use the existing public transit bus stops in Ross Valley, in addition to Memorial Park in San Anselmo. Parents need to designate their desired stop when purchasing a pass.
Q: Does the bus schedule adjust for Early Release and Minimum Days?
Routes will adjust to meet early release and minimum days at all school served. The School District will actively coordinate with Marin Transit and Michael’s to ensure buses are available when students need transportation. There will be no afternoon bus service for Kindergarten dismissal times.
Q: What if my child misses the bus?
That does sometimes happen so please be prepared. Every family should have a backup plan where kids have a way to contact a parent or neighbor that can get them to school, or that they can notify if they plan to walk.
Q: What if the bus is late?
This sometimes happens due to traffic or mechanical problems. Parents can sign-up to be notified via text message notification if any bus is running late. Our bus operator would have a replacement bus on the way in case of a significant mechanical problem. To check on a late bus call Marin Transit at 415-419-2533.
Q: What happens if my child leaves an item on the bus?
Bus drivers keep items on the bus for a few days so that the student can pick up the item the next time that they ride the bus. Please remind your student to ask the bus driver if they have found any items matching the description of the student's lost item.
Any unclaimed items are delivered to the White Hill Middle School office.
Q: Who do I call if there is a problem?
If it involves Lost & Found or any issue relating directly to a bus or driver, contact Marin Transit at 415-419-2533.
Q: Can my child be assigned to more than one route?
All students are assigned to one route and one stop. If your student splits their time between more than one household in the District, parents can request a Secondary stop after purchasing their primary route and stop. If your student requests different drop-off locations after school, parents are also encouraged to consider this when purchasing their PM pass and select a route that serve all desired stops.
Q: Can my child get off at a different stop?
Drivers expect students to only travel to/from their assigned stop. This is done for safety reasons and allows the drivers to better monitor students.
Q: Can my child bring a friend home on the bus?
Students can only ride home with a friend if they have purchased a pass on the same afternoon bus route. Hidden Valley students who do not have a pass and wish to ride home with a friend can purchased single ride passes online.
Q: What if my child has to cross the street?
Service is provided along both sides of Butterfield Road to eliminate the need for students to cross to get to or from a bus stop. If needed, yellow bus drivers also have the ability to stop oncoming traffic and escort students across the street.
Q: Can riders open the windows?
Yes, kids are allowed to open the windows, except when common sense or the bus driver dictates otherwise.
Q: Can riders stick anything out the windows?
No. No part of a child's body should ever extend through a window, and no item of any kind may be thrown out a window.
Q: How is discipline carried out onboard the bus?
Drivers are responsible for maintaining proper student supervision and monitoring of all students onboard. Drivers are assigned to a specific route and you and your student should expect the same driver every day.
Q: What happens if a child doesn't follow the rules?
A verbal warning will first be issued to the student by the Driver and documented with the school coordinator. If the student continues to violate student behavior guidelines, then an Incident Report Form will be filed and sent to the school. The school may take appropriate disciplinary action and the riding privilege can either be suspended or permanently revoked without refund.
Q: Can my bus pass be taken away?
Yes. If your child does not respond to the progressive discipline assigned, your pass may be suspended or revoked without refund.
Q: Are parents financially responsible for vandalism?
Yes, parents/guardians are financially responsible for vandalism caused by their child.
Q: What if my child is being bullied?
Contact your school principal or the school transportation coordinator immediately.
Q: What if my child is accused of bullying?
Your child may be entered into a progressive discipline process. If bullying is happening and does not cease, your child may be temporarily suspended from the bus, and/or may have the annual pass revoked without refund.