FAQ

General Questions

Q: Is the Mill Valley School District required to provide transportation to general education students?

No. Mill Valley School District is not required to provide transportation services for its general education students, as it does not receive State funds to do so.

Q: When will service start?

The yellow bus service will start the first day of the Fall 2017 school year. See below for more information on pass sales.

Q: Which schools and neighborhoods will be served?

The following routes are part of the 2 year pilot progam:

  • Edna Maguire – Downtown Mill Valley & Homestead Valley
  • Mill Valley MS – Strawberry & Downtown Mill Valley
  • Strawberry Point – Downtown Mill Valley

The routes and schools were chosen based on the results of the District's survey of parents, student home locations, and potential traffic congestion relief. As this is a pilot, the program has been limited to three schools. Each route serves a specific neighborhood that was identified as having the greatest need and/or potential ridership. After the pilot period is complete, the District will be evaluating the program and available resources to determine whether other routes can be added for future years.

Q: Is the school district operating the buses?

No. MVSD is not funded, equipped, or staffed to operate transportation services. The District is contracting for the operations of the buses with a local school bus provider, Michael’s Transportation. Michael’s Transportation has over 35 years of experience in the industry and they currently operate yellow bus service for several other schools in Marin County, such as Marin Academy, Mark Day School, Marin Primary and public and private schools throughout the Bay Area.

Q: Who will be allowed to ride the bus?

The yellow bus services will be available to students attending Mill Valley Middle School, Edna Maguire, and Strawberry Point schools. Only students who have purchased a pass will be transported. Routes will be specific to the schools and students. The general public is not allowed to ride on the bus.

Q: How safe are the buses?

School buses are some of the safest vehicle 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. School buses rank much better than any other form of surface transportation.  In addition to the Michael’s regular maintenance program, California Highway Patrol (CHP) conducts annual terminal inspections and quarterly vehicle inspections.

Q: What are the qualifications of the drivers?

Michael’s drivers are fully certified, courteous, and 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.

Passes

Q: How do I buy a pass?

Annual passes for the 2017-18 school year will be sold beginning Thursday, May 25 at 9:00am and can be purchased online at https://transit.mvschools.org using a credit card. 

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?

 

Purchased May 25 - June 16:

 

In Full

Per Month (includes $5.50/month processing fee)

 

AM + PM

$ 625.00

$ 68.00(x10)

One way only

$ 350.00

$ 40.50(x10)

Purchased from June 17:

 

 

 

 

AM + PM

$ 675.00

$ 73.00(x10)

One way only

$ 375.00

$ 43.00(x10)

All passes can be purchased online using a credit card. Parents will have the option to pay the full amount or pay over 10 months. If you choose the monthly payment option, the first monthly payment will be processed to your card when you initially purchase the pass. A $5.50 per month processing fee is included in the monthly price. The remaining nine payments will be charged on the first of the month starting September 1, 2017 until May 1, 2018. Please note that when choosing the monthly payment option, you are committing to paying the full pass amount over the 10 month period, and no refunds are allowed unless your child moves away from the from the District.

Families that qualify for the free or reduced lunch program can get 50% off the pass price. To apply for a discounted pass, please use the coupon code FREE&REDUCED at checkout. Your seat will be confirmed once your eligibility has been verified by the School District office. All passes are first-come, first-served. For any questions please contact Monica Wallace at the Mill Valley School District office at (415) 389-7751.

Q: Are there discounts for multi-child families?

Not at this time. Discounts will be considered for future years.

Q: Are there limited seats available?

Yes. Each school and each route has a limited number of seats available for sale and routes will close once all seats are purchased. Purchasing your seat early will help ensure your student gets a seat. 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 school year begins, passes will be pro-rated based on the time left in the school year. However, availability of these passes is based on unsold seats.

Q: When will I receive my student’s pass?

Bus passes will be mailed to your home address before the first day of school.

Q: Do kids need to show a pass to board the bus?

Yes. Students will receive a bus-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 a $10 fee. Once purchased, your school coordinator (see below for contact info) will provide your child with a temporary pass, which can be used until a new pass is ready. Replacement passes will be available for purchase online.

Edna Maguire: Leslie Fielder (415) 389-7733 ext. 2670
Mill Valley MS: Linda Canepa (415) 389-7711
Strawberry Point: Administrative Assistant (415) 389-7660

Q: Do you sell single use or weekly passes?

Unfortunately single use passes are not available at this time, but may be considered in the future.

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 time remaining on the pass.  No refunds will be allowed for any circumstances after April 5, 2018.

Q: Does a pass entitle my student to ride any yellow bus he/she chooses?

Passes are specific to a bus and route and the driver expects your student to board and disembark at the same location and time.

Bus Operations

Q: Where and when does the bus stop in my neighborhood?

2017/18 stop locations and preliminary schedules can be accessed for each school:

Mill Valley Middle School

Strawberry Point

Edna Maguire

Please note that stop locations are approximate and subject to change. Finalized stop locations and schedules will be emailed prior to the start of the school year. Stops are assigned, and students must get on and off at their designated stop. Routes will be scheduled to arrive at school 10-15 minutes before the AM bell time and depart 10-20 minutes after the PM bell time.

Q: When does the bus arrive at school?

All routes are timed to arrive at school 10-15 minutes before the start of school.

Q: When does the bus leave school?

Routes are designed to leave approximately 10-20 minutes after the release bell. There will be no afternoon bus service for transitional kindergarten (TK) or kindergarten dismissal times.

Q: What about Early Release and Minimum Days?

Routes will adjust to meet early release and minimum days at all schools served. The School District will actively coordinate with Marin Transit and Michael’s Transportation to ensure buses are available when students need transportation. There will be no afternoon bus service for transitional kindergarten (TK) or kindergarten dismissal times.

Q: Why do you want children at the stop 5 minutes early?

State law requires drivers to stop traffic and escort children to the bus if they are not already standing at the stop. This delays our schedules and may disrupt traffic. We also don't want students to miss the bus by cutting it too close in the morning. Our drivers try to stick to the published schedule, but sometimes there may be adjustments or delays.

Q: What if my child misses the bus?

That does sometimes happen to some children, so please be prepared. Every family should have a backup plan where their child(ren) have a way to contact a parent/guardian 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 or email if any bus is running late. Our bus operator will have a replacement bus on the way in case of a significant mechanical problem. To check on a late bus call Marin Transit’s School Operations Analyst, Kelly Zalewski, at 415-226-0872.

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, call Marin Transit’s School Operations Analyst, Kelly Zalewski, at 415-226-0872.

Riding Privileges

Q: Can my child be assigned to more than one stop?

All students are assigned to one stop on the route.

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. Kindergarten and 1st grade students must be met by a parent in the afternoon. 

Q: Can my child bring a friend home on the bus?

Yes, if the student has a yellow bus pass.

Safety

Q: What if my child has to cross the street?

Marin Transit will work with Michael’s Transportation following the bus pass sign-up period to identify safe and convenient bus stops. If needed, yellow buses also have the ability to stop oncoming traffic and allow the student to cross in front of the bus.

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.

Discipline

Q: How is discipline carried out onboard the bus?

Drivers are responsible for maintaining proper student supervision and monitoring of all student 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 (contact info here) 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.