South Washington County Schools

Ph: 651-425-5303
Fx: 651-425-5313
Office Hours:
5:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Transportation Office Address:

8587 W. Point Douglas Rd. S.

Cottage Grove, MN 55016-3025

Now Hiring! visit sowashco.org/workhere


Bus Stop Process and Procedures

The South Washington County Schools District #833 is committed to providing safe and efficient school bus transportation to its students. We have a long tradition of providing this service safely to all students that are eligible under Minnesota State laws, rules and regulations. The State of Minnesota currently requires transportation services for students who reside more than 2 miles from school. South Washington County Schools generally provides transportation to Elementary students (K-5) who live more than 1-mile (5280 feet) from the school, Middle School Students more than 1.5 miles and High School students more than 2 miles from the school the student attends. Students that attend a school other then their assigned school through open enrollment or intradistrict transfer and whose parent/guardian have signed a waiver of transportation are not eligible for this transportation regardless of the distance. The following will outline the services we provide and explain how we comply with laws and rules that pertain to school bus transportation.


Our goal is to provide safe, reliable and efficient transportation to the students that reside within the boundaries of the school district, within the constraints of a limited and regulated budget, so when students arrive at school they are ready to learn.

Bus Stop Procedures - Students, Motorists, Bus Drivers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging all motorists to drive safely, and remember these rules about school bus safety:

Tips for motorists:

  • Be alert and slow down when driving in neighborhoods with school zones.
  • Watch for children walking, playing or assembling near bus stops. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
  • Obey the school bus laws in your State, as well as the "flashing signal light system" used for school buses.
  • Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.
  • Yellow lights are flashing PREPARE to stop
  • Red lights are flashing = STOP 20+ feet from the bus or more

Red lights are off =PROCEED with caution

Tips for caregivers and students:

  • Arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. To keep busses and routes running on time please do not wait in a car or house. Students are most easily seen at the bus stop. 
  • When at the bus stop, please stand at least three giant steps (six feet) away from the curb.  The bus stop is not a place to run or play.
  • When the school bus arrives, wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, the door opens, and the driver says it’s okay before approaching the bus door. Use the handrails to avoid falling.
  • When getting off a bus, look for any cars passing on the shoulder. Wait for the bus driver to signal that it’s safe to cross. Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. Keep watching traffic when crossing.
  • Never walk behind a school bus. Walk on a sidewalk or along the side of the street.  Cross the street in front of the bus with at least five giant steps (10 feet) between the front of the bus and you.  If you drop something near the school bus, like a ball or book, tell the bus driver right away. Do not try to pick up the item, because the driver might not be able to see you.

Tips for bus drivers:

  • Stop 8-10 feet from the bus stop and approach stop slowly. Monitor student activity and traffic. It is recommended to count all students at the stop and ensure that same number of students board safely.
  • Once all students have boarded and are safely seated, scan 7, continue on route.
  • For drop off, approach stops slowly and monitors traffic. Count numbers of children using each stop and ensure that all students safely depart the bus. Scan 7 and continue on route.
  • For crossing of students, train students to wait/hold, make eye contact with you and use a sweeping motion to indicate that students are safe to cross (hold & sweep). Students should also be trained to look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped and to keep watching traffic when crossing.
  • Use the SEE ME method at all stops:                                                                      

See Me waiting!

See Me at the crosswalk! 

See Me getting on the bus!

See Me walking from the bus!

Increasing concerns for the safety of students is spreading nationwide and it’s imperative that you take time to spread the word to your friends, families, neighbors, and followers.

Bus Stops

Bus stops will be located at corners or intersections, whenever possible. The designated area that students wait for the bus must be within a bus length to the corner (about 40 feet). The bus driver will designate this area to the students after the first day. This may change during the year. Stopping at corners or intersections is safer due to the expectations of traffic. When a bus stops mid-block it can confuse motorists, whereas traffic anticipates the bus will stop or yield at intersections. It also provides the driver or substitute driver a landmark (intersection) to identify prior to making the stop so the eight-lamp system can be properly activated to warn the public. This also allows the driver to scan the area for students when approaching the intersection. State law and School Board Policy states students can walk up to one mile to a bus stop.

Bus Stop Change Request

Read through the following information before making a  change request. If you feel a change is needed due to circumstances beyond what is described here, please complete one of the relevant forms HERE.  After the information is submitted a Transportation Department representative will contact you in 3-5 business days.  No change will go into effect until you receive a response.  Please only submit one request; submitting multiple requests for the same change will delay the process.  Please note: School bus drivers do not have the authority to change bus routes or student stops.

Bus Stop Criteria and Information

  1. School buses will use the eight-light system and stop arm at all stops in the South Washington County School District unless the exception is made in policy or the stop is documented with an explanation. In order to properly operate the eight-light system, no bus stop will be made within 300 feet of one another.
  2. Buses serving students with disabilities may stop while using their 4-way hazard lights only at house stops where it takes an extended period of time to load/unload the student. . At these stops the bus will pull over to the curb at the driveway and student will not be allowed to cross the roadway. Buses will not go into the student’s driveway, unless prior approval has been given due to the hazard of backing out. The bus horn will not be used to announce arrival.
  3. Buses will not generally travel down cul-de-sacs unless the vehicle is picking up handicapped children. Backing a school bus is a dangerous maneuver. A full-sized bus needs 115 feet to safely turn and most cul-de-sacs are only 90 feet wide.
  4. Unless prior approval has been given and transportation has approved, no school bus will travel on private roads.
  5. Bus stops should be located with clear visibility for 300 feet in both directions. Stops in a residential area where the speed limit is less than 35 mph or less may not be located within 100 feet of each other.
  6. Stops in or out of residential areas where the speed limit is 35 mph or greater may not be located within 300 feet of each other.
  7. School Buses may load/unload in right-turn lanes if pre-approval has been given. Students must may not cross the road the bus is stopped on when the bus stop is located in a right turn lane.
  8. There is not a fixed number of students that warrant adding or moving a stop. All stops are determined on an individual basis.
  9. Visibility from the home to the bus stop is not part of the criteria for establishing bus stops.
  10. Stranger-Danger criteria are used only under documented persisting or current cases that public safety can verify.
  11. The bus driving by does not warrant adding or changing a stop. The higher frequency of stops can make the motoring public "impatient’ and cause drivers to drive around the bus causing greater safety concern than the distance a student has to walk to the bus stop. It also delays the bus, making the overall student time on the bus longer.

Bus Routes

Bus routes are arranged according to geographic area and stops are assigned from 1-3 blocks of a student’s home whenever possible. Mid-day kindergarten and pre-kindergarten stops are routed separately and generally are closer than regular AM and PM. Students that attend a school whose boundaries cover a larger geographic area (i.e. Neuves Fronteras, Math and Science Academy, non-publics), or the entire School District, will be assigned to a station stop. Station stops are assigned based on the number of students in an area or neighborhood. They are generally within 2-4 blocks of a student’s home. Station stops are important to these routes to keep the rider time at a minimum. State guidelines recommend that no student ride the bus more than 1 hour each way every day. The bus route, stops and/or times may change within the year and from year to year based on student population, road construction, and various other factors. 

Bus Ridership

Bussing information will be communicated before the start of school each year. Students must ride the bus that they are assigned and ride the same bus to and from school unless prior approval from the Transportation Department has been given. Students must ride the bus at least once every 5 days or their stop may be removed from the bus route.  Bus route numbers and animal pictures will be placed on the side of the bus by the bus number. At the discretion of the bus driver, students may be assigned seats at any time. Students will be expected to abide by all the school bus safety rules, which are posted in every bus. Students in grades K-10 must also attend school bus safety training within the first 6 weeks of school every year. This is scheduled during the school day. The results of this training must be reported to the State of Minnesota.Students should be out at their assigned bus stop 5 minutes prior to their scheduled pickup time.

Nonpublic Students

Minnesota Statute 123.79 requires the school district to provide equal services to nonpublic students in the South Washington County Schools geographic boundaries. Out of district students attending non public schools in 833 boundaries do not receive transportation from District 833.

Students who are attending out of district schools will be provided transportation services to the boundary, or they will be reimbursed the same amount that the State pays the District. The parents/school, as a group, must decide if they want transportation or the reimbursement. The District will not provide transportation to some and reimbursement to other students from the same school. The Department of Children, Family and Learning determines the amount of reimbursement.

Transportation to/from Daycare 

The following daycare information will apply:

  1. Only K-5 grade students are eligible for Daycare Stops, effective 2018-19 school year.
  2. At the discretion of  the Transportation department will regard a student’s daycare location as their residence for the purpose of transportation if requested by the parent/guardian. It is necessary that the daycare be located in the same school attendance area as the child is attending and in the case of kindergarten, the same AM or PM designated area. Transportation will be provided from the student’s home or daycare.
  3. It is imperative that the parent/guardian provide the Transportation Department with the daycare information by July 1 each year for the upcoming school year. This allows the department to establish routes as accurately as possible
  4. The pickup and drop-off bus stop may not vary from day to day but must be the same location every morning and every afternoon. Only the following will be considered;
  5. Intradistrict Transfer students are subject to the IDT tranportation guidelines.
  • Pickup at home, drop off at home,
  • Pickup at home, drop off at daycare,
  • Pickup at daycare, drop off at daycare,
  • Pickup at daycare, drop off at home.

Intradistrict Transfer

Intradistrict Transfer guidelines state the student/parent/guardian is responsible for providing transportation.